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Ping! It's not the same on paper

Ping! in Fontenay-aux-Roses Tomorrow my students and I will be doing a paper version of Kate Armstrong's "Ping!". Kate describes Ping!, which premiered at last year's Psy-Geo-Conflux, as "an experiential wireless project that uses a telephone menu system to distribute active commands to users who call in using a cell phone. The choices made by the caller when navigating the telephone system produce directions for physical movement through the city." At my request, Kate sent us the schematic drawing and the menus she had drawn up when programming the piece. We had planned to experiment with the idea of using it without the phone system (which we couldn't afford). It's a fascinating look at her project behind-the-scenes, sort of like reading a play – or the score for a piano concerto. But I was having a hard time imagining us out in the streets navigating from schematic to menus and back again, unless the map itself was to become the territory (in which case there no longer would be any need for the streets !). Kate offered us a few suggestions by e-mail, the class studied the plans and decided to note path indications from the schematic on the menu texts. We will be Ping!ing Fontenay-aux-Roses tomorrow afternoon. Check back in a few days for more news of the project on our class blog.

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Art-oriented programming

Let me make a pitch for a symposium I hope to write more about later. Here's an excerpt from the symposium press release:

"Does the programmer interpret the work according to the artist's desire? Does he partially create it? What are the artistic practices brought about by programming? Should the programme be taken into account for an aesthetic judgement of computer artwork? It is necessary to tackle the question of what is aesthetically at stake in the essential role played by programming in the creation of computer artworks. This symposium will be an occasion to make every effort to propose new critical approaches. During two days, theoreticians, programmers and artists shall present their own approach. Lectures will alternate with work presentations. Invited artists will present creations in which programming is ground for specific research. They will explain some aspects of their work on programming. Each presentation will be followed by a public debate. Two round table talks to deal with "hacktivism" and with "programming aesthetics" will also complement the symposium." The symposium was organised by the CRECA: Centre de Recherches d'Esthétique du Cinéma et des Arts Audiovisuel, Université Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne, Amphithéâtre Richelieu, 17 rue de la Sorbonne, 75005 Paris, March 19, 2 pm - 9:30 pm and March 20, 9:30 am - 9:30 pm. (text by David-Olivier Lartigaud)

Among the examples of software art from the Transmediale festival Andreas Broeckmann showed at the Sorbonne this afternoon was Wilfried Hou Je Bek's .Walk.

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