Interactive Tedium from ISEA

August 29, 2006

I didn’t get to go to ISEA this year (not that I’ve been for ages) and I actually pretty pleased I didn’t. I really wanted to like the stuff I saw online, largely thanks to Brett Stalbaum doing a trawl of YouTube for all the videos from ISEA.

But, as usual, there were the crazy modern telematic dance to squeaky violin crowd, the utterly pointless matrix of infrared LED’s, invisible to the human eye, which can only be seen through the viewfinder of a digital camera. (On the video you hear people discussing its pointlessness). And of course the usual array of ear-splitting electronic feedback with quivering, dull, dull, dull visuals and the blinky-blonk laptop music crew.

What a disappointment. This stuff just hasn’t moved on for a decade and even back then we used to find it tedious. All the decent work is happening in more commercial areas such as tour visuals and public installations. So, new media/electronic artists out there remember:

Plugging the feedback from a rubbish circuit board you cobbled together for the first time into an oscilloscope and dancing around in front of it may be art and you might love it, but its boring as hell. Try making something beautiful, it’s a lot harder.

I’m going to miss Ars Electronica, which I’m much more upset about given that I live so close, but I’ll be in Barcelona. So there’s some compensation.