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Interview with Joel Slayton

Why the “Pacific Rim”?  And other questions answered by ISEA 2006/ ZeroOne Festival Chair, Joel Slayton 

Q. Why “Pacific Rim”?
The political and economic space of the Pacific Rim represents a dynamic context for artistic and cultural experimentation. San Jose and Silicon Valley represent and important portal to the Pacific Rim with deep historical, cultural and economic ties. The Pacific Rim theme highlights the connections and connnectedness of cultures and countries rimming the Pacific Ocean. We believe that an international arts symposium and festival program need to take account of the discourses regarding diversity, identity and place associated with the regions and their networks.

Q. Arguably “Pacific Rim” is the most vague of the four themes for ISEA 2006; do you hope any specifics will be achieved throughout the events?
The Pacific Rim New Media Summit, a pre-event of ISEA2006, was specifically designed to enable international collaborations. Seven 'working groups' have been instantiated that are focusing on a creative or cultural initiative, a research project, or policy assessment. For example, a Distributed Curatorial project called 'Container Culture' in which new media art works from Pacific Rim port cities are integrated into shipping containers which will arrive in San Jose for the Festival and be put on display in a temporary exhibition. There are projects on education, the environment mobility and urbanity, piracy, residencies/organizations and alternatives to conventional models of new media art practice as it relates to communities and place. The ISEA2006 Symposium will feature an extended discourse on specialized topics through paper presentations and posters and there has been a special call for participation for artworks in this category. we envision the ISEA2006/ZeroOne San Jose as an opportunity to become more integrated with activities throughout the Pacific region and to use the context of San Jose and Silicon Valley as a catalyst for the building of interpretive bridges and new transaction spaces.

Q. Some might say that the term or theme “Pacific Rim” is inherently problematic, do you agree?
Yes. Pacific Rim is really a reference to the political and economic space that includes many distinct countries, regions, socioeconomic frameworks, and political identities. It is not a singularity in terms of a cultural space of interactions. It is however a term that begs a tremendous number of questions in terms of post-colonial assessments and characterizations. The term was selected because it provides a platform from which the rich complexity and dynamic realities of inter- regional relations can be discussed and debated. An important objective of the Summit is to examine and create new transaction spaces for creativity and innovation.

Q. What are you most looking forward to about the Pacific Rim New Media Summit?
Meeting everyone and seeing what can happen when we try to focus on outcomes.


The Pacific Rim New Media Summit takes place August 6-8, 2006.