Binary Code Symposium Outline

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Binary CodeCrack the Binary Code Symposium outline

* Crack the Binary Code

* A symposium on multimedia criticism

* Melbourne Exhibition Centre Auditorium

* Saturday November 1, 9am – 5:30pm

* Organised by the Centre for Contemporary Photography



Senator Richard Alston will introduce the symposium from his perspective as Federal Minister for Communications, Information Economy and the Arts.


Christina Thompson (editor of Meanjin), who will chair first session on ‘Multi-mediation’. This session examines the role CD-ROM plays as an add-on to pre-existing artistic genres, such as films and books. Peter Craven will speak from his perspective as a literary critic who pioneered ‘multimedia criticism’ with the Talking Book column in The Age Green Guide. Philippa Hawker (The Age book reviewer and lecturer in Creative Writer at the Victorian College of the Arts) will discuss the three-way exchange between CD-ROM, film and literature, with reference to Romeo and Juliet. Antoni Jach, Creative Director of RMIT's Online Multimedia Project, who writes for both book (The Weekly Card Game, published by McPhee Gribble) and disk, will talk about the multimedia novel as an art form. Katherine Phelps is author of Surf's Up: Internet Australian Style and PhD researcher in new storyforms for digital media at RMIT.


Kevin Murray, coordinator of Binary Code, will be chair for the Art Online session. This session examines the small screen as a medium for art—its promise and its limits. William Mitchell, Professor of Architecture and Media Arts and Sciences at MIT, will discuss the Palladio Virtual Museum project and draw from his recent text ('There and not There') on the uses and limitations of virtual museums and galleries, and their relationship to more traditional display venues. Justine Humphry combines both practical and theoretical knowledge of networks as manager of Archipelago Consulting and lecturer at University of Technology, Sydney. She extends her thesis work on the CD-ROM Myst with an analysis of the yearning for lost homelands, brought on by a deprivation of ‘deep time’ and manifest in fascination for distant lands such as Mars. Michael Hill was once in charge of New Media at AFC and now is a producer himself, helping to produce an online chat game. He will present ‘22 short ideas about online art’, focusing on the relationship between contemplation and the distractions of software configuration.


Morag Fraser is editor of Eureka Street and media commentator on books and film. She will chair a session ‘From the sublime to the cool’ that examines to what degree traditional concepts of aesthetics can be applied to the new interactive media. Geert Lovink is a net activist from Amsterdam whose online projects include nettime, digital city and Lovink is an advocate of universal access and critic of the Wired world. He will consider deepening rift between material and online cultures, with the emergence of ‘a new aristocracy harbouring a deep hatred towards the on-line masses’. Angela Ndalianis lectures in Cinema Studies at Melbourne University, specialising in the relationship between video games and film history. She will explore popular ‘crude’ works such as Doom for their cinematic logic. Steve Polak is an ‘interactive journalist’ whose reviews of CD-ROM are published in The Australian and Who magazine. His overview of the commercial multimedia titles will include a presentation of new experiences offered by playstation and emerging trends on interactive media. Peter Hennessey is an artist and designer for both Altered States and Australia’s first online gallery The Basement Project. He will speak about the aesthetics of interactivity.


Stephen Feneley is presenter of the ABC arts program Express. His session ‘State of the Art’ examines the problem of ‘technological correctness’: how the generous state support for new media might complicate its claim for status as a new art form. The panel of art ‘gatekeepers’ will include Stephanie Britton, editor of ArtLink, the arts magazine that included last year a CD-ROM issue. Mike Leggett is curator of ‘Burning the Interface’ a major exhibition of CD-ROM art that toured Australasia last year. Shiralee Saul is Program Director of Experimenta and co-curator of Altered States. She provides a direct perspective on the issues of new media art distribution. Robyn McKenzie will speak as art critic for the Herald-Sun and editor of Like magazine. He will comment on issues of digital distribution with reference to the Dixon report.


Each session is one and half-hours long, allowing thirty minutes discussion after presentations. A ‘bulletin board’ will also be available in the foyer for audience comments.

Tickets for full day and admission to Interact Multimedia Expo: $60 ($45 concession)

To register, call the Binary Code Hotline on (03) 9417 1549

More details are available at:

Assisted by the New Media Arts Fund of the Australia Council, and Arts Victoria.

Geert Lovink's visit to Australia is part of Code Red, presented by the Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT) in association with The Performance Space. Supported by the New Media Arts Fund of the Australia Council, the federal government's arts funding and advisory body with additional support from the Goethe Insitute, Sydney.

Page was last edited 20 December 1998
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