Monday, October 03, 2005

NAMAC conference

NAMAC conference
This weekend was the NAMAC (National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture) conference here in Philadelphia. A whole slew of interesting folks came to discuss projects, ideas, developments and more.

Scribe Video hosted the conference; the ubiquitous Gretjen Clausing was in full force to make it all happen.

I got a videoblogging training from Michael Verdi, who's fun and funny, and helps his daughters make fun and funny blogs too.

John Henry Thompson, new media smartypants and Macromedia Director inventor, presented some of his past work, along with his "capoeira theory," relating the learning of programming to the inventiveness of capoeira, in which every player must know how to sing, fight, play instruments and must be steeped in the history and mythology of the sport, all within the concept of play. He also discussed introducing into education a programming language that would be easily accessible and easily taught...I wonder if and how this could be applicable in developing regions, where computer training might bridge a digital divide, but where equipment and access might be more key....

A fascinating debate concerning the digital divide started in a panel with Jared Ball, who distributes free mixtapes (on CD), Fred Ritchin of Pixel Press, Josue Rojas of YO! Youth Outlook Magazine, and this artist named Steve Bull who's working with cellphones and opera. The gulf between the white-man New-York-Times-and-opera crowd (Steve and Fred) and the people-of-color Mix-tape-and-graffitti crowd (Jared and Josue) deserves a capital-G. But at one point, people really began to talk about this divide and its origins, functions, and most importantly, bridge-ability. Make your own occupation photo gallery out of Pixel Press's "Notes of a Former Peacekeeper" and YO!'s "The Things They Carried Home." Not only will these photo-essays show you what American presence on foreign soil means, they will also spur you to consider the function of photography, as journalism and as memoir, as professional and as amateur, just as these lines are blurring.

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