Friday, May 25 Afternoon Sessions

again, the afternoon presented quite a vast and diverse range of examples of how new and old technologies, science and art are intimately entangled at different levels and serving a number of purposes. These were some of the protagonists of the afternoon: Community based creative expressions with the purpose of informing about Aids medications effectiveness and side-effects as well as psychologically supporting African women living with the disease(CATIE); ad hoc architecture to ease the lives of sick kids (at the SICK KIDS hospital);  social network software encouraging users to discover their “inner animal” and engage with the community (Utopics).

David Theodore asks the question: how can we understand architecture as a flexible medium that reflects specific needs? how do we foster the interaction between the built, material place, the surrounding and in-between space and the people who inhabit it?
His project is composite: it consists of a specific architectural research on the history of hospitals designed for children, and the way the space is being designed to reflect their needs and to relief their pain and boredom during their stay. to this, one has to add  over 600 pictures and dialogues that have been recorded by the kids at the hospital. now these pictures are randomly displayed as part of an installation located in the hall of the conference venue.

here are a few pictures

 

 

Tricia Smith’s “Body Mapping: Women Navigating the Positive Experience in Africa
Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE)” documents a project that is currently taking place in Tanzania and Zambia.
(CATIE) is a project whereby the psychosocial meets the biomedical. It seeks the active involvement  of local women who are affected by AIDS or are HIV positive and combines body mapping as well as treatment information sessions. After having drawn a map of their body, they are asked to respond to a number of questions about their past life experience, their current health, the side-effects they are experiencing when taking their daily medications, the visible signs HIV/AIDS is leaving on their body (symptoms and transformation of their body figure). All the responses are then recorded in textual as well as visual  form directly on the body. By alternating “creative sessions” to information sessions, this type of body mapping  provides precious information and material support to the participating women, fosters solidarity and sympathy between them, and leads them to a process of acceptance and sense of security. It can be simultaneously considered, as Smith claims,  a “form of art and narrative therapy.”
the material result consists in visually appealing artworks which can be used to raise money and awareness about the project and the condition of these women.

here is an example:

other examples can be found on the Festival Website as well as on CATIE website
http://www.catie.ca

 

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A very different project, Geoffrey Pugen’s Utopics is the “tongue-in-cheek”–quite refreshing–latest example of  social networking  software.

 

By encouraging the potential user to create an animal, or animal based avatar (taken from an existing or imaginary animal) and by  engaging him to later interact with a community of (“furry”) peers located on a google map. the result, according to Utopics, is that the viewer might be able to find his or her inner “inner animal” and interact with other users with similar aspirations. as the user becomes more engaged and experienced with his/her new identity, she can download new plug-ins which will allow her to upload videos and other multimedia animal-themed documents

for instance see how it works by having a peak at the  video ads of Aerobia at http://www.utopics.ca/program

and some pics here

 

 
again, the animal topic is developed by one of teh interventions located in the hall see also embracing animals
Kathy High

http://www.embracinganimal.com