The Snark Dance

collaborative choreographies of collective memory

kinetic seance May 11, 2008

Filed under: processing,psychogeography,transportation,treasure hunting — danceswithsnarks @ 11:52 am

The kinetic Seance was a project I did after Futuresonic to expirement with all of the ideas that have been kicking around in my head. It is called the kinetic seance because it wishes to summon the spirits of the dead through movement. In french seance means to sit so there is a nice little juxtaposition at play there.

I decided to set the psychogeography in a graveyard with 10 participants. I brought with me one DV camera, tracing paper, paper, crayons, pencils, watercolors, and roses. I gave each participant a bag with tracing paper and crayons in order to copy any text they found interesting for mapping the cemetery. I thought this was a way to get participants to confront the tombstones. I also porvided them with paper to take notes and a rose (for its symbolic connotations) in order to mark sacred places within the cemetery or to facilitate anything they needed to let go. I had no exact rules for the game. However as each participant returned from getting lost they were told to make notes on the Minutes page. The experiment took place in nuhead cemetery, which is a very enchanting setting and good foot candy as well as eye candy.

Each participant went one at a time with the camera and was led to a random location after being blind folded and made dizzy. They were then told they were free to do what they wanted but had to think about how they wished to feedback to the group afterwards. The original idea was that as more people came back from the walk feedback would increase and cause to the mapping to be a collective reflective process from which I could reflect upon the editing process. But, most of the feedback was pretty silly and time flew by so that two participants were not able to go and two went together in order to get more people to go before we were kicked out. As time constraints grew smaller everyone complained that they were cut too short in their exploration. This to me suggests that the walk should be all day and use multiple cameras so that more than one person can go at a time. Someone also suggested that it would be good to send people out to excavate sound. I have consulted David about this and he has expressed interest in the project.

Also I would like to have a camera myself as trying to find the participants was very disorienting and I often got lost even without being blindfolded. Another thing I was surprised by was how casual everyone was about being in a cemetery. But, then again, it was during the day and I guess I am more superstitious than most. Also I was disheartened by the fact that nobody really started constructing a map with the tools I gave them. When I asked why not, I was told that there wasn’t enough time.

All in all, I think the walk was pretty successful at gaining further interest from all involved. We all agreed that we wanted to continue the project as everyone enjoyed themselves. Furthermore, everyone felt that there needed to be a director and that I should be the whistle blower. Also we wanted to be more disciplined in formulating rules and thought that the project should be continued over the span of a few weekends where participants could come and go throughout the process and more committed participants could develop a rythmic understanding of the space.

Discussion/new projects:

My reason for setting up this project was in order to expirement with getting lost, confronting death, and creating a ritual, game, or narrative collectively. I brought roses as I thought we could play with their symbolism. In the future I would like to think about other symbols or archetypes with which to experiment with constraints and give me clues for editing and creating narrative intersections and intertextuality.

Also documenting sound seperately from the image could help us play with the text of the situation. I am also thinking about how collaborative film making which implements collective rule making might be used in documenting the hunt or actually making the documentation part of the hunt. I have some friends who created the event Shoot London where participants are given question with which they have to answer by creating images to photograph. I have something like this in mind but in using the moving image

All Photos taken of the event, courtesy of moi


sharing is caring May 10, 2008

Filed under: hotdogs,Networkin',processing,transportation,treasure hunting — danceswithsnarks @ 12:41 pm

courtesy of Passionate at

Image courtesy of Passionate


Social networking has changed the way people are talking about the economy and intellectual property. The FLOSS movement has really opened my eyes to issues that collaboratve development faces especially with regard to intellectual property. I find ownership patterns very interesting and my inner hippy is constantly questioning my own boundaries of possession. One interesting movement that is questioning the nasty seas of cultural property is creative commons. I wrote them about a month ago about starting a creative commons group at Goldsmiths, but I still haven’t heard from them. Oh well, there is still a non-university oriented, creative commons group in London that have some events coming up in July. Their work is really fascinating and just what the doctor ordered for getting people to become more active in the shaping of public policy and cultural movement.

Below is a pretty comprehensive talk from an authors@google event by the founder of creative commons, Lawrence Lessig:

In thinking about making development go public (which is what this blog is experimenting with) I must admit that I second thoughts. I definitely have little voices in me that think that I should be more skeptical about openly sharing my ideas. However, being the socially bounded creature that I am, I am not entirely convinced to what extent these ideas should belong to me. I also think that these questions are at the core of what could shake the way we think about economy and the thought economy. Anyways, I went ahead with the blog because I would like to think that sharing ideas can only lead to better ideas and I should hope that I will keep from running out of them as sharing ideas leads to new ones.

I think some people get nervous when it comes to open source culture and online networking because it somehow threatens intimacy and privacy. In a discussion with the founders of The School of Everything, a site that is a platform for knowledge exchange, or open source education, we thought about when the internet takes the networking thing a little too far. One man brought up a networking site he was invited to where participants were asked to evaluate changes in their friends. This is exactly the sort of creation that points out how online networking can misunderstand the ins and outs of the social it wishes to connect. Then again what new sorts of societies are being created by networking platforms? What are their limitations? A secondlife informant explained to me that Secondlife could be terribly isolating unless you were a creative. Hmmm I will look into this…will keep you posted!!

Discussion/ Future projects:

I think that Open source culture has really put possession and autonomy in the spotlight. Is there such a thing as being too social? Where does collaboration fail? Also what is so important about personal space? How can we experiment respectfully with the boundaries of personal space.

Also I have been doing projects experimenting with the open source poetic by making open source poetry. This way poetry can be seen as software. Also I have been collecting texts from places such as the British museum and reconfiguring them into poems. I want to make a workshop in a library where we can retrieve passages at random and remix them into new stories. I know there has been sftware created to extract random things from the net including software which makes poetry. However I think these programs are rarely succesful. One really good one however is flowerewolf which must be run on nodebox.

Also keeping up with the ritual theme, what about open source ritual making. Thinking about it Present Attempt is sort of like an open source theatre company. Open source film making?

Oh and I guess I should also note that this year I am creating the Black Rock City Fitness Center in the gift economy based Burning Man festival. The burning man festival is about creating a week long experience in sharing and gift giving. Its in the middle of the dessert so sustainability of this way of life is a bit of a joke. Anyways, we are going to be giving free workshops and gateau-aerobics sessions (free chocolate cake weight lifting) complete with a deep fryer. Please comment if you want to take a trip to Nevada this august!

I made love to google images to make this.

I hope I don’t need citations for the cupcake and the fried chicken sandwich??


Berlin and hospitality club May 8, 2008

Filed under: Networkin',transportation — danceswithsnarks @ 2:36 pm

Here I would like to talk about a walk I conducted in Berlin. I wrote people from the traveling network hospitality club and asked them to join me at the airport and find Berlin by walking. I wrote to about 100 people, but unfortunately, my email was delayed in the system and only reached very few people in time (there is an optional spam filter which can delay messages in the network). With that said there was an amazing response even though it was too late, so I must attempt this walk again!

Anyways, I was met by three enthusiastic Germans out of the 10 that were supposed to come but didnt due to the awful weather. We walked for about 7 hours and only were able to get just to the tip of Berlin. All involved said they enjoyed the idea very much. I got some great footage of the walk however it has been lost in my recent move…stay tuned and i will add more footage in the comment boxes when they surface…there was some pretty juicy insight from an interview with one of the participants. Anyways I find networks such as hospitality club extremely useful links to interest groups from which to find participation. Conducting work which challenges notions of space and place should find a lot of interest from dedicated travelers as it serves them a challenge to get to travel at home. It is a funny notion that transportation enjoys recreational sentiment when its abroad and not at home. Wouldn’t it be nice if the tube was more relaxing…. haha

Berlin’s history made it an amazing place to do a walk. Notions of east and west, past and future became very disorientating. This was great for my goal of getting lost. Also I am thankful that I was able to explore it with locals, two of whom were native Berliners. Together we explored the surroundings of the airport, which I would imagine could never happen without suspicion in the US or the UK. Also it was very exciting to explore places where the Berlin wall used to be. I have agreed with the participants of the walk that this summer (for good weather) we should conduct a walk that attempts to follow the Berlin wall all the way around. Now that should be an interesting cyclical path!!!

Also airport walks are extremely interesting as they show the space bubbles we create through our everyday rituals by breaking them. There was actually a controversy surrounding Berlin’s airports I became aware of during the walk.  Apparently Tegel Airport which is close to the center was to be shut down and the more wealthy Berliners were upset with this prospect.  The airport ritual is such that it transports you from one bubble to the other. In Berlin’s case the airport even mark class territories as more expensive flights service Tegel and it is more convenient by car.

Will Self gives an extremely helpful lecture on youtube about his walk from London to New York which included a walk from his home in London to Heathrow and then his walk from JFK airport to Manhatten:

As I mentioned before the juicy bits of footage of the walk have been buried in my mountains of crap. For now I will have to give you the only clip I could salvage which is admittedly pretty lame, but still kind of cool, because it is the point when two of the participants took the camera off of me and did some of their own filming in an old restaurant we found on the outskirts of Berlin:


  • Another Berlin walk where the email gets to everyone on time and in sunnier weather!
  • Berlin wall walk
  • More airport walks or other spaces where transport disrupts spatial continuity
  • Making recreational spaces in public transportation