Rambling Responses: The Artist, the User, the Environment and Their Problems, Nat Muller
Nat Muller is a freelance writer, curator, producer, critic and delight-maker. She holds a BA from Tel-Aviv University (Israel) in English literature and an MA in queer and gender theory from Sussex University (UK). She has worked as a sex educator, bookshopkeeper, freelance journalist and as project manager and curator at V2_organisation, Institute for Unstable Media in Rotterdam, and Axis: bureau for gender and the arts in Amsterdam for which she recently edited the reader "Ctrl+Shift Art - Ctrl+Shift Gender: Convergences of New Media, Art and Gender". Nat has published articles in off-and online media and has given presentations on the subject of media technology, art, and gender (inter)nationally. Currently, she is a researcher at the theory department of the Jan van Eyck academy in Maastricht, and founding member of stichting Foam in Amsterdam, sister organisation of Foam vzw. Her main interests include: user research in responsive environments; the creation of new public contexts; food and social communication; gender and technology; and Middle-Eastern politics.
Nat Muller focused her talk to responsive environments, mixed reality in the framework of intimate relationship between artist-developers, technology that's been used and audience. This kind of technological, responsive environment means that it can provide users by possibility of changing or shaping their own experiance, to give them new experiance or 'augmented feeling of immersion'. She was quoting Canadian artist David Rockeby who said that interactivity is about intimacy between artist and audiance. According to hear experiance, interactive or responsive invironment is allways treated or evaluated by traditional scientific paradigmes. It allways pose a question of technology usability, does it work? And how does it work? What is really important is to find methodology which allowes functionality of technology, but also evaluates its creativity and esthetics. Nat was talking about her own experiance of dealing with these facts that have showed up as really hard to balance. In that sense, she has presented 'Foam collective, 'distributed laboratory in which she's working with multidisciplinary models of cultural expression, operating on the cusp of research, production, presentation and reflection of creative practices'. One of their projects took place in circus in South Britain, in specific performance environment, where the main focus is involving the public in it.
After that, Nat presented specific project called 'Txoom' which was realised together with several partner institutions: Kibla from Maribor, Future Phizical from London, Time's Up from Austria and interactive institute from Sweden. 'Txoom' is short for textail and bloom and it was Culture 2000 project. Its focus is creating responsive environment where the boundaries of the physical and the digital are stretched through the behaviour of its users/players/inhabitants. Their wish was to facilitate a merger of mediatised and tactile synaesthetic experiences, which would create a matrix - or base context - for different sensibilities to evolve and subsequently 'grow' the environment. The main point is peoples' reactions within it and in that sense Foam collective creates, experiments with different methodes. Consequently, they have organized public experiments, workshops, expert meetings, symposia, etc, like inseparable part of the project.