2011 Annual Report for the New Media Caucus

This has been an exceptional year for the New Media Caucus, with our energies focused on organizing activities in conjunction with the 2011 CAA Conference in New York City, building a partnership with the International Digital Media & Arts Association (IDMAA), launching our new website, publishing several editions of the Media-N journal, developing a print-on-demand version of Media-N, expanding the membership base, and increasing organizational awareness within the field. The organization has expanded significantly, having added 135 new members since the 2010 CAA conference, which brings our total membership to 665. New members most frequently cite our activities at CAA, invitations and referrals from current members, and articles published in the Media-N journal as prompting their interest to join. With new membership requests arriving every week, the NMC is thriving.

NMC & Media-N Website
In September 2010, the NMC and Media-N websites were re-launched – the result of a major design and development project that was successfully completed thanks to the diligence of Chief Information Officer James Khazar, who leads the development and implementation efforts. Rachel Clarke and I assisted with the design and information hierarchy, as well as content migration. Additionally, Dima Strakovsky assisted with backend development, and Jessica Walker helped with membership migration. The new site greatly enhances our capabilities, especially with regard to streamlining the publication and editing cycles for Media-N. The NMC gives many thanks to James Khazar for this outstanding contribution to the organization.

Moving forward, there are several phases of expansion of the website that are already underway, including a project to publish a series of web-based resources such as a New Media Bibliography and a list of MA, MFA and PhD programs around the world which focus on New Media, that are anticipated to go live on the site in Spring 2011. The chair of the Resources Development Committee, Jessica Walker, along with NMC Members Pat Badani and Laura Rusnak collected and organized these materials. When the resources section of the website goes live, there will be additional seats added to this committee, which will continue its work by expanding and maintaining the existing individual resource listings as well as adding entire new categories to this forthcoming section of the website. Those interested in working on this committee should contact Jessica Walker 

IDMAA Partnership
This past year saw the establishment of an important new partnership for the NMC, as we began working with IDMAA, a like-minded organization founded in 2004, “dedicated to serving educators, practitioners, scholars, and organizations with interests in digital media” which many of our members also belong to. As a result of this partnership, NMC was invited to present a panel during the IDMAA conference at Emily Carr University in Vancouver, B.C. in November 2010. Our panel, entitled Narrative, Space, and the Geo-Local, chaired by Sabine Gruffat, with panelists Mary Agnes Krell and Jeff Ritchie, was outstanding. It should be noted that the turnaround time for development of this panel was intense, and the NMC is indebted to Sabine, Mary and Jeff for their commitment to realizing this important project. With our panel received very positively, I am additionally pleased to report that based on the success of this initial collaboration, the NMC has been invited develop and present a panel at the 2011 IDMAA Conference, which will be held in October in Savannah, Georgia. Details regarding the call for panel proposals will be announced later this year. The NMC thanks the IDMAA Board of Directors and Advisory Board for their support of this partnership, and I would like to extend a special thanks to Ray Steele, the Senior Executive Director of IDMAA, for his generosity and support throughout the process of forging this important relationship between our organizations.

Media-N Journal
The Media-N Journal released two editions in the past year: a Conference Edition in the Summer of 2010, regarding the 2010 CAA Conference in Chicago, as well as an impressive Fall edition guest edited by Jessica Westbrook and Adam Trowbridge entitled Dynamic Coupling which focused on interrogating the question of how artist-couples working in new media navigate careers based on collaborative practice. For this edition, eighteen interviews with practicing artist-couples ask probe questions of shared practice, with contributions by Shannon McMullen and Fabian Winkler, Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero of Luftwerk, Annette Barbier and Drew Browning of Un-real Estates, Margarita Benitez and Markus Vogl of // benitez_vogl, Krista Birnbaum and David Politzer, Jon Brumit and Sarah Wagner, JonCates && Jake Elliot, Ben Chang and Silvia Ruzanka, Eva and Franco Mattes aka 0100101110101101.ORG, Sean Fletcher and Isabel Reichert, Tali Hinkis and Kyle Lapidus of LoVid, Sven Humphrey and Robyn Voshardt, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, Stephan Hillerbrand and Mary Magsamen, of Hillerbrand+Magsamen, Leila Christine Nadir and Cary Peppermint, of ecoarttech, Julio Obelleiro and Casilda Sanchez, Ken Rinaldo and Amy Youngs. Additionally, scholarship by Pat Badani, Jim Jeffers, and Daniel Ploeger appears in a peer-reviewed section of this edition. The forthcoming spring 2011 journal edition entitled 3D CG Pedagogy is being co-edited by Rachel Clarke and Claudia Hart, which evolved from their 2010 CAA panel.

One of the most exciting developments to emerge from Media-N this past year is the development of a print-on-demand version of the journal – an effort that has been excellently led by Pat Badani over the past four months. To realize this project, Pat has been working closely with Rachel Beth Egenhoefer, who created the design for the print version of the journal, ensuring that the publication takes advantage of the unique capabilities of print, while supporting design components established for the recent web launch, so that the brand and identity are consistent across all formats. Throughout January, Rachel Beth worked tirelessly on the design for print edition, which was completed in early February, so that an early sample of the print version could be brought to CAA. With the design completed, Pat Badani and Juliet Davis worked closely with Jessica Westbrook and Adam Trowbridge to migrate the content from the Fall 2010 Dynamic Coupling edition into the first print edition of the journal. As of the writing of this report, we are on the verge of releasing the print version of the journal for purchase online via Lulu.

This major development, which represents the first sustainable source of funding for NMC, will allow us to address our growing operational costs, while preserving our commitment to providing memberships without dues. Additionally, it has precipitated a need to fill our vacant treasurer role, as discussed in the section of this report focused on the executive board. For their perseverance and vision, sincere thanks are owed to all involved in making this project possible, and especially to Pat Badani, Juliet Davis and Rachel Beth Egenhoefer for their concentrated efforts that have resulted in a fundamental expansion of the goals and scope of Media-N.

CAA 2011 NYC
At CAA 2011 in New York, our activities began on Wednesday onsite at the Hilton Conference hotel with a fruitful business meeting, and then continued into the evening at the School of Visual Arts, where the NMC was generously hosted by the MFA Computer Art Department. There, we presented the New Media Caucus Showcase – an intense, two-hour session featuring back-to-back, six-minute presentations by seventeen members of the NMC. A packed lecture hall with over 70 in attendance, and another twenty just outside the room saw presentations by Victoria Bradbury, Rachel Clarke, Seth Cluett, Peter DePietro, Rachel Beth Egenhoefer, Dave Gordon, B. Colby Jennings, Patrick Lichty, Justin Lincoln, Christina McPhee, Ali Miharbi, A. Bill Miller, Molly Morin, Leila Nadir, Simone Paterson, Jack Stenner, and Daniel Temkin. After the presentations, this incredible evening continued with a two-hour catered reception kindly donated by SVA, and held throughout the entire tenth floor of the MFA Computer Art Department, for dozens of members and guests.

During the reception, a video compilation of artworks by 56 NMC members, entitled 30 Second Spot was screened throughout the facilities, appearing on over dozen monitors. The artworks, collected by open-call from the membership, were each thirty-seconds long, and the nearly half-hour program played continuously. Special thanks to Mat Rappaport for organizing the call, and developing the DVD along with his assistants Alice Feldt and Michelle Graves. This successful evening was made possible by the assistance of a number of individuals, including SVA Staff members Charley Lewis, Jose Vargas and Hsiang Chin Moe. We are especially grateful for the generosity of the School of Visual Arts and would particularly like to extend our special thanks and appreciation to Bruce Wands, Chair of the MFA Computer Art Department for all of his help in supporting the NMC Showcase and reception.

On Thursday, our activities continued onsite at the Hilton Conference hotel, beginning with the opening of Hotel: A Room with a View exhibition created in partnership with Video in the Built Environment (v1b3), led by Mat Rappaport, Conrad Gleber, and Gail Rubini. This exhibition was staged inside one of the hotel rooms at the Hilton, exploring the room as a site-specific installation venue; announcements about the room location were delivered the day before and during the conference so that viewers could make their way to the show, which was open for seven hours. Over 110 individuals passed through the exhibit, featuring artworks by Olga Ast, Julia Druk, Alex Reid, Annette Barbier, Christopher Cassidy, Elizabeth Demaray, Greg Garvey, Jim Jeffers, and Mary Agnes Krell. These works were developed specifically for individual sites within the room, and were installed in every conceivable location e.g., in the tub, in the sink, within the toilet, on the bed, under the bed, on the ceiling, etc. Special thanks to all the members of v1b3 for their vision, commitment, and investment in developing this spectacular project, which was extremely well received by all of those who visited, including a large contingent of CAA members who had not previously been involved with NMC activities. The playful guerrilla ethos of the show was vibrant and refreshing at the conference.

In the late afternoon Thursday, our one-and-a-half hour onsite, sponsored panel, The Responsive City, Fact or Fiction, chaired by Steve Dietz, with panelists Barbara Goldstein, Cameron McNall, Ben Rubin and respondent Mark Shepard, was presented in the splendid Trianon Ballroom. This fascinating panel, which “examined the experiences of artists and presenters with large-scale, long-term interactive art in the public sphere” was very well attended, with an audience of over 75. Our two-and-a-half hour onsite affiliate sponsored session, Fight the Power – Open Source, Free Software, and Critical Digital Practice, chaired by Ben Chang with presentations from Aymeric Mansoux, Heidi May, Jody Baker, Bridget Elmer, Megan Lotts, and Robert Lawrence, was held on Friday afternoon, to an audience of 65 in a packed lecture room. Also on Friday, Rachel Clarke, Vagner Whitehead, and I met with several students from Hunter College’s MFA program, who are also members of the Video Collective – a student organization at Hunter – to provide a series of nine individual forty-five minute studio critiques. The students’ artwork was inspiring to each member of the critique panel, who emerged with the firm assertion that this form of activity would be worth revisiting and expanding at future CAA conferences.

Our activities continued offsite, Saturday, where the NMC returned to Hunter College, at their MFA Studio Art Building near the Port Authority, where we were hosted from Noon until 7:00pm for several activities beginning with a two-hour, offsite affiliate panel entitled SLOW MOVES: Toward a Gaming Aesthetics of Inactivity chaired by Melissa Ragona with presentations by Brody Condon, Paulo Pedericini, and Joseph McKay. Pat Badani and Rachel Clarke organized a presentation of the past achievements of the Media-N journal, along with a discussion of future topics. In the afternoon, a two-hour affiliate panel entitled Instrument as Interface as Artwork was chaired by Joshua Pablo Rosenstock with presentations by N_DREW (aka Andrew Bucksbarg), Sabine Gruffat, Taylor Hokanson, and Kate Riegle-van West. Afterwards, Katherine Behar & Silvia Ruzanka moderated an open dialogue session entitled Feminism and New Media: Hot or Not? which featured speakers Terry Berkowitz, Jillian Hernandez, Diane Ludin, Prema Murthy, Stephanie Rothenberg, and Kathleen Ruíz. Throughout the day, over 140 individuals came to participate at our offsite events at Hunter College. This success is owed to the hard work of all of the chairs, panelists, moderators and presenters, and especially to Katherine Behar, who spearheaded the partnership with Hunter College, and we thank her for her efforts in this regard. Also, thanks to Hunter College staff member Tim Laun, as well as the MFA members of the Video Collective, Fabio Corredor, Maya Jeffereis, and Matthew Cianfrani, who were instrumental in assisting our organization to secure an invitation to present scholarship and discussion throughout the day at Hunter.

Later in the evening, just after 10:00pm on the Saturday of the CAA conference, as things would seem to have been winding down, the NMC ramped up into high gear by presenting the two-hour long PVE: Performance Video Event – a full program of media performances, video screenings, and installations held at the University of the Streets, a legendary jazz club in the East Village. NMC Member Lydia Grey organized and produced this dynamic multidisciplinary evening of experimental video, performance art, and conceptual music showcasing new work by members of the NMC. Artists Belinda Haikes, Catherine Forster, Chia-Ling Lee, Clifford Owens, Ezra Wube, Georg Muehleck + Sylvia Niebruegge, Jim Jeffers, Katherin McInnis, Krista Steinke, Rafael Sanchez, Sara Schnadt, Viv de Dada + Mary Campbell, and Vagner Whitehead presented work to an audience of well over 100 literally packed to the rafters in this second-story East Village loft space. The NMC is deeply grateful for the inspirational efforts of Lydia Grey in realizing this fantastic event, which concluded our activities at the 2011 CAA Conference in NYC, late on Saturday night.

Officers of the Executive Board
With regard to the NMC officers, there are a number of important updates to keep note of this year. At the 2011 conference, Leslie Raymond’s term as Vice President of Exhibitions and Events was concluded. This was a position that Leslie held for over three years, during which time she organized numerous exhibitions and events, including the @ exhibit at SCIArc in Los Angeles, as well as the nine-hour performance event: the Live Cinema Summit in Chicago. Her leadership and passion was a vital source of energy for the NMC the past few years, and she most certainly made the organization a stronger entity because of her dedication and hard work.

At the business meeting, it was determined that a committee of three members: Joyce Rudinsky, Dan Phiffer and Victoria Szabo would work with the executive board in organizing events and activities at the 2012 CAA Conference in Los Angeles. The VP of Exhibitions and Events position remains vacant at this time. However, this is partially due to the fact that the duties for this position require clarification, a process that is currently underway.

At the 2011 CAA Conference, Rachel Clarke officially concluded her term as Vice President of Publications and Editor-in-Chief of the Media-N Journal of the New Media Caucus, stepping down from her role after eight years in which she was responsible for founding and leading the publication. During her tenure, over fourteen editions of Media-N were published, a robust peer-reviewed editorial board was established, numerous papers and proposals were reviewed, a number of guest editors invited to produce editions, design cycles for the launch of two websites were realized, and last year, she streamlined the Media-N bylaws to more fully outline a multi-tiered hierarchy of decision making and editorial positions within the Journal, facilitating further growth of the publication in the years to come. Rachel’s contributions over the years have played a major role in the success of the New Media Caucus. Media-N is one of our proudest accomplishments, and due to her long years of leadership, service, dedication and hard work, we are privilege to this outstanding journal, a gift to the discipline. We are indebted to Rachel, and on behalf of the entire membership, I want to extend a sincere and heartfelt thanks for all that you have accomplished, and all that you have helped us become.

As founding editor of Media-N, Rachel is continuing on the editorial board for the remainder of the year to assist Pat Badani, the new Vice President of Publications and Editor-in-Chief of Media-N, who was confirmed to this officer position after guest editing an edition in 2009, as well as a year of service as the Deputy Executive Editor of Media-N throughout 2010. In her role as Deputy Executive Editor, Pat has already demonstrated impressive dedication in taking the lead on realizing the print-on-demand version of the Journal. We welcome Pat Badani to this important role in our organization and look forward to her leadership in the years to come.

As our project to begin offering a print-on-demand version of the Media-N journal has moved rapidly, it became important for us to fill the role of Treasurer, which had remained vacant since the NMC was formed, since we previously did not have any sources of income for the organization. In this regard, Jim Jeffers, Vice President for Communications, has additionally been appointed Treasurer for 2011. It was critical to establish this position, which Jim accepted as a one-year appointment.

New Media Caucus Bylaws
At the business meeting, one of our long-standing members, Mat Rappaport, who has been involved in supporting many of the organization’s activities over the years, was elected to the position of Vice President of Bylaws. This ad-hoc officer position with a fixed term of two years was established to fulfill a critical role. As the NMC continues to rapidly expand, it has become apparent that many of our established practices need to be formalized. It is imperative for the future of the organization that we discuss and recognize our specific officer positions, their duties, term lengths, individual and institutional memberships, and other organizational details to achieve a greater degree of clarity and formality. In this regard, Mat will be leading a project to closely examine the NMC Bylaws and Constitution in order to propose formal revisions that will reflect the daily practice of the organization. To be clear, we are specifically engaging in this process in order to make it easier for members to understand what the officer roles are, what their responsibilities are, and when they will become available so that we may better encourage and support those who wish to serve the organization in these leadership positions.

New Media Caucus President
After completing two years as President of the NMC, I recognized that there were several projects that have emerged that I want to continue to actively participate in realizing. This is particularly the case with regard to formalizing officer duties and term lengths within the bylaws and constitution, expanding our capabilities to raise funds in order to meet our operating costs, and nurturing partnerships with other institutions and organizations. Additionally, as we have recently had several leadership positions become vacant or transition to new individuals, I felt that it was especially important to maintain continuity with regard to our core activities and programming. In presenting these reasons during the annual business meeting in NYC, I requested to have the term of my presidency extended by two years. I am pleased to announce that this proposal was unanimously accepted and my term as President of the NMC, which was to conclude in 2012, has been extended to 2014. In this regard, I am sincerely humbled by the support of the members of the Caucus. This extended term will provide the organization with an ample period to announce and hold a measured series of elections over the next several years to ensure that the offices of our leadership positions are well defined and do not all conclude at the same time.

After eight successful years of growth, programming, and activities, the New Media Caucus moves forward into a bright future. The successes of this organization are wholly due to the engagement and hard work of the members, officers, chairs, panelists, volunteers, and participants that make our activities possible. I am honored to serve as the President of such a dynamic and inspiring group of individuals; I sincerely extend the welcome of the entire NMC to those considering joining our membership, it’s truly a vibrant moment for the organization, and most certainly an excellent time to get involved.

Paul Catanese
New Media Caucus, President