art technology environment: geography and the voice of the people

in order to record or to examine issues related with sustainability, artists and activists have often resorted to the use of locative media. armed with recorders, camera and often requesting the help and involvement of the community, these practitioners often accomplish more than they had expected. for instance, while the involvement of the community is expected, the outcomes, and the degree of such involvement often depend on many factors. often, the projects become fascinating explorations of a territory as well as precious instruments of research or material that can be used to the community’s benefit.
according to Nancy Nisbet, who joined Subtle technologies remotely from Banff, where she is leading a multi-project on locative media, artists tend to turn to the city as the target of their inquiries. however, as the project conducted by Juan Freire and Karla Brunet demonstrate, working with small communities can be often very rewarding too. in their case, the intervention of teen agers as major actors in the collection of data facilitated the relations with a community very keen to speak with the younger generations.

combining artistic mapping and recording produced by the community, Juan Freire and Karla Brunet set to create digital narratives with the participation of, and produced by the local knowledge of the city of  Garapua’ Cairu’, Brazil.  the crew composed by a group of media savvy teen agers moved to the small centre and conducted workshops, interviews and collected material with the help of the local  community. in turn, the community was included in the project and was encouraged to intervene in the management of its own ecosystem, producing new and unpublished information about the territory as well as about its natural resources.  Free to work with the medium of their choice and to explore their own special topic, the young protagonists were nonetheless able to produce a comprehensive (visual, oral) map of the territory that included the whole ecosystem of the region (fisheries and the economic activities, infrastructures, communication and access to water)
as the website that documents their project is in Spanish and Portuguese, here is a slideshow they apploaded for the symposium

http://www.slideshare.net/ecoarte/digitalnarrativesecomedia

Mainly  working with sound recordings, Fereshteh Toosi’s audio documentary “Up the Creek”  has mapped and evoked memories about the Onondaga Creek in Syracuse since 2008. In the past decades, the life of the creek has radically changed. people might not know that the creek might be there. collecting historical memories as well as recollections of communities struggles regarding the construction of a controversial waste water system  in a poor neighborhood of Syracuse, Toosi’s project draw attention not only to the existence and the need to preserve the creek, but also to the human activity that has shaped the area.