Monthly Archive for August, 2008

Beijing 6 Free

According to Students for a free Tibet (SFT) and a Facebook Group, the “Beijing6” – James Powderly GRL, Brian Conley Alive In Baghdad, Jeffrey Rae, Jeff Rae, Michael Liss, Tom Grant) are free and on their way home.


This happened after the AFP reported on Friday, that “Beijing police said Thursday it had handed out 10-day detention terms to six foreigners believed by an overseas activist group to be pro-Tibet campaigners involved in Olympic protests this week.”

The IHT wrote yesterday, that Washington’s top diplomat in China pressed the government to immediately free foreign activists jailed for protesting at the Olympics and criticized Beijing on Sunday for failing to use the games to show “greater tolerance and openness.”

My guess is: They just don’t care anymore since the games are over and want to get rid of them – asap. We’re waiting for a Statement of the persons concerned and will publish it here – asap.

G.R.L. Activists detained in Beijing

Internationally known artist, technologist and co-founder of the Graffiti Research Lab, James Powderly, was detained in Beijing on tuesday early morning while preparing to debut a new work and technology of protest, the L.A.S.E.R. Stencil. According to a “twitter” message received today by Students for a Free Tibet at approximately 5 pm Beijing Standard Time, Powderly had been detained by Chinese authorities at 3 am. His current whereabouts remain unknown.


The work, “The Green Chinese Lantern,” uses a 400 milliwatt handheld green laser with micro-stencils to beam simple messages and images up to three stories high on surfaces such as billboards, buildings, and bridges. The Laser Stencil technology was developed in conjunction with Students for a Free Tibet.

Before that, Powderly and other members of the Graffiti Research Lab were dis-invited from Synthetic Times, a new media art exhibition at Beijing’s National Media Art Museum of China, due to their uncompromising stance on freedom of expression.

James is proud to have been kicked out of the Synthetic Times new media art exhibition in Beijing because he wouldn’t censor his little art project. James wonders why organizations like the MoMA, Parsons, Eyebeam, Ars Electronica and many other arts and cultural institutions around the world who claim to support free speech and expression would participate in a show like this. But they did! It was after being kicked to the curb by the show’s curator that James connected with Students for a Free Tibet and decided he would go to China anyway and do what he though was right in support of Tibet, Taiwan, free speech and the people of China. James lives, if indeed he is alive, in the County of Kings, Brooklyn, and teaches at the Communication Design and Technology program at Parsons the New School for Design. I am James Powderly and I approve of this message.

From, Photos on Flickr

Beijing: Activists detained after lighting up “Free Tibet” LED Throwies banner near Olympics site from Students for a Free Tibet on Vimeo.

Also yesterday, five activists with Students for a Free Tibet were detained after displaying a banner that spelled out “Free Tibet” in LED Throwies, the open source technology pioneered by the Grafitti Research Lab and popularized online and worldwide. This brings the number of Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) protestors detained in Beijing to 42.



Glow is a dusk to dawn performance and media art festival which took place for the first time on July 19th 2008 in Los Angeles. It is envisioned as a museum without walls, a way of bringing contemporary art to the public. “Media art meets the masses”, that sort of thing. The public in question for this particular event consisted of 200,000 people passing through a stretch of beach and an old historic pier all in a single night. The massive scale of the event probably left many of its commissioned artists wondering how they could ever go back to the narrow confines of the gallery again.


My favorite installation is by New York based Taiwanese American Artist Shih Chieh Huang whose recent exhibitions have taken him to the Venice Biennale, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in Manhattan and the Shanghai MOCA to name only a few. His process-orientated work transforms mass produced objects and everyday detritus into kinetic sculptures which seem infused with life.


Before receiving the commission from Glow, he happened to be doing a two-month residency at the Smithsonian in Washington which allowed him to study the Smithsonian’s collection of iridescent marine life forms. For Glow, he filled the walk way under the historic Santa Monica pier with slow-moving sculptures of marine creatures intricately constructed from zip-ties, power adapters, plastic bags, wires and plastic tubes… To me his work is always very much about material. There is a lot of aesthetic discipline in the way he juxtaposes one piece of recycled waste and the next.


I missed most of the works displayed that night, but I especially regret not seeing Usman Haque’s ‘Primal Source’ up close. A giant water screen is conjured up on the sand. The sound created by the nearby audience constantly changes the light patterns projected onto the water screen. At some point during the night there were thousands of people surrounding this piece. If Glow is all about public spectacles, then this was certainly the showpiece. Usman Haque has a background in architecture and has been responsible for a number of impressive large-scale interactive installations recently. Check out his website for more.


You can just make out Usman Haque’s upside down waterfall on one side of this picture, the bright spot on the other side is my piece Moon Theater created in collaboration with Michael Kontopoulos and based on code by Andres Colubri. Moon Theater is designed to address issues of scale and social performance in a public setting. In the context of Glow, it is realized as an opportunity for communication and expression between members of a large crowd.


The piece successfully sustained a community around itself throughout the night, transforming strangers into collaborative performers.


Shadow puppets are mapped onto the movement of people’s hands and projected onto our artificial moon using code written in Processing.

Moon Theater from Nova Jiang on Vimeo.

Synchron :: summeracademy @ MKH in WELS

August 2008. In the tiny lovely town in Upper Austria called Wels, in the towns’ cultural center Medien Kultur Haus a summeracadamy about audio visual culture takes place.
The programm started already at the end of July with workshops for beginners and continues with the so called “Produktionswerkstätten”. The aim is to realise within two weeks five projects. Therefore all interested people with some knowledge of AV techniques are invited to come and join the creation process. Participants will have a place to stay and will be provided with food and coffee of corse! The Medien Kultur House will turn into a huge studio!
Finally the presentations of the works will be on October the 17th in Wels.

Produktionswerkstätten :: 11th to 25th August 2008

And those are the five projects they’ll be working on:

1. TagTool – Painting the front of the Medien Kultur Haus
with Markus Dorninger and Matthias Fritz (OMA)
The Tagtool is an open source instrument for drawing and animation in a live performance situation. Its development is coordinated by OMA International.

2. 16mm Windows – let the windows become your screen!
with Volker Sernetz, Stefan Sobotka (Ochoresotto) and Gerhard Senz (Paracelsus)
Analog….analog…. analog…. Ochoresotto didn’t forget about the good old analog devices and they know how to use them!
3. Videokaiserpanorama – Multimedia 3D Videos
with Anna Bertsch, Ulla Pfneudl (Angina P) and Benjamin Schröder

4. A/V Performance – Generative
with Katharina Mayrhofer, Matthias Zauner and Markus Weickinger

5. A/V Performance – Samplebased
with Martin Püringer (kon.txt), Michael Seidl (Mikimoto) and Sebastian Achleitner

You are interessted to join this event ? So grab your laptop, pack your things and last but not least send a mail to Boris Schuld or Harald Schermann!

SYNCHRON – Trailer:

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