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The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Blog posting written by Ian Carsia, Cinema & Photography '14, FLEFF Intern, Hamilton, NJ
1) What are you presenting/participating in for FLEFF 2012 and how does this relate to and engage with Microtopias?
"I am teaching a course together with media arts artist and Ph.D. candidate at the Information Science department of Cornell, Nicholas Adrian Knouf.
The course is entitled 'Microtopias Lab' and deals with utopia as a concept and practice in the context of histories relating to the junction of arts and sciences."
2) What is your background with FLEFF? How did you become involved with the festival and why?
"I am a graduate student at Cornell in the History of Art and Visual Studies. My work and interests are situated on the intersections of media arts and activism.
My dissertation work deals with the relationship between play, art, and social change. I look at artists using videogames as activist tools, as contemporary forms of intervention that have deep histories in interdisciplinary strands of arts, sciences, and counter-culture movements.
FLEFF began to include electronic media in 2007 when I first was invited to present at the "Gaming Meme" panel with film scholar Lisa Patty and network theorist Ulises Mejias. I've been part of the festival ever since in various qualities, mostly as a lecturer in the last three years."
3) You have collaborated with new media artist/activist Nick Knouf in the past. What has made this collaboration effective? What skills and attitudes do you both bring to your work?
"We have similar interests and thoughts about media arts and the political imaginary.
Both of our work deals with the histories, transdisciplinarity, and performative aspects of electronic culture conceived in a very broad sense, as a conceptual lens and set of practices."
4) What are you most looking forward to about FLEFF 2012?
"I am looking forward to the films--here is a list of a few films that I am really looking forward to see to begin with:
But the festival is really about the conversations and encounters that happen unplanned."
5) What advice would you give to college students wishing to become involved with new media art as well as activism?
"At present, the new media arts are pretty much tied to creative economies, more so than in the 1990s when the enthusiasm around the internet provided a space for more politicized expressions.
On the other hand, the global activism emerging in the recent year incorporates some of the practices then seen as art-activism. Think of the impromptu beamed projections on the walls in New York in support of the occupy movement making the rounds on youtube, etc..
Artists like Krzysztof Wodiczko made a career of similar interventions in public space, then groups like F.A.T. Lab took this practice over, and finally it appears on the street in the context of large and urgent protests.
Historical consciousness is key to activist and artistic practices, but one makes history by doing.
I think that utopia is an essential energy for those interested in creatively engaging and changing our present condition."