Verbingdingen / Jonctions 6

V/J

10-19/05
> Monday to Saturday > 13:00-23:00
> Sunday > 13:00-20:00

Verbindingen/Jonctions 6 is the sixth edition of this multimedia festival. Conceived by Constant vzw, this is the third year that the festival at the heart of our festival is coming to present its ‘cyber-programme’. This year, VJ6 will be mixing new trends in improvised electronic music with science fiction films, Japanese animated cartoons (manga) with experimental forms of net art, radio creation with critical reflection on the use of new technologies, a vocabulary lesson for beginners with a workshop for the well-informed. As in previous years, there will be something for every taste and every degree of involvement. Visitors can take part in concerts, conferences and workshops, video viewings, films, consult internet sites, discover CD-ROMs or just drop by for a coffee.

A context by : Constant vzw

Coproduction : KunstenFESTIVALdesArts

In collaboration with & presentation : Paleis voor Schone Kunsten/Palais des Beaux-Arts, Filmmuseum/Musée du Cinéma, KunstenFESTIVALdesArts

Supported by : Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie, Ministerie van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap

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This is the third time that the organisation Constant vzw is holding its multimedia festival right at the heart of the KunstenFESTIVALdesArts. A festival within our festival, Verbindingen/Jonctions 6 has its own programme (which can be obtained from the ticket office). From new trends in improvised electronic music to science fiction, from Japanese animated drawing to experimental forms of net art, from making radio to a critical reflection on the use of new technologies, from a simple vocabulary lesson in the workshop to the concert, passing through the video library…

KunstenFESTIVALdesArts: What is Verbindingen/Jonctions 6?

Constant:

Verbindingen/Jonctions 6 is Constant’s sixth multimedia festival. This year, there’ll be a particular focus on female creators who appreciated very quickly how the independence of computer tools could give them ‘a room of their own’ in technology. The event’s nerve centre will be the old taverne in the Palais des Beaux-Arts, where visitors will also be able to listen to concerts, watch videos, visit internet sites, discover CD-ROMs, attend conferences and workshops and have a coffee. As well as all this, a selection of films will be included in the Musée du Cinéma’s programme.

KFDA:What are this year’s themes?

Constant:

DIY technology as something that is both fun and political. There’s nothing new in making sounds from re-appropriated electronic equipment, yet there’s still an appeal in performing this tradition which occurred by accident. The continuous rediscovery of this medium by artists who derive sounds from instruments they create by adapting technical or instrumental components, and who make a profession of faith out of it, continue to give an experimental dimension to the most social form of electronic creation. Several creators (both male and female) will be invited to share their experience during workshops and concerts, including Chantal Dumas (CA), Amy Denio (USA), Toshiko Noriko (JP), Andrea Neumann (D), Pierre De Jaeger (B), DJ Nurse (GB/IT), Wendy van Wynsberghe (B), Mafucage.live act-female sound technologic dub (F) and possibly Kaffe Matthews (GB).

KFDA: You’ve mentioned the possibility of making radio on the net.

Constant:

Today, lots of media artists and activists understand that it’s in their own interest to get what they need for digital production and broadcasting themselves. The place where technology has been re-appropriated the most has been in the area of sound. From sampling – which created a different relationship to intellectual property – to peer-to-peer distribution models, such as Gnutella or Freenet, individuals and groups involved in sound broadcasting have created new relational and aesthetic propositions with technology. To put it plainly, our collaboration with artists is offering a ‘tool box’ for web radio, i.e. a range of resources for setting up a broadcasting infrastructure on the web. So this year, amongst other things workshop participants will be able to learn how to create their own radio on the internet. These are the tools, this is how you use them, this is how you do it… But visitors can get involved to varying degrees: from being observers, to taking an active part and attending a workshop. Each day will end with a concert. .

KFDA: What’s the urgency behind encouraging people to have a go at do-it-yourself technology?

Constant:

We think there’s an urgency in getting people, whether they are artists or not, to take their computer, their operating system, in hand. We’re evolving in a context that can only be thought of in global terms. It’s about studying the tools we have for broadcasting, creating, exchanging and communicating. The web has been a structure for broadcasting and interaction, where soldiers have coexisted alongside traders, activists and universities. If there have been frictions emerging over the past few years, there’s a good reason why we can’t really talk about war or expropriation: a motivating force behind the business is the user. Large computer industries have applications or services in mind aimed directly at users. Rivalries between the big companies have contributed to clarifying the use of interfaces, livening up the machine’s design, favouring free hosting. But this model has reached its limit: the market is saturated with personal computers. This means that development efforts are going to be redirected towards company services and tools and that the market is going to be segmented into two significant parts: mobile interfaces and centralised company networks. This evolution is happening at the same time as the big legal models (United States and Europe) are imposing and legitimising centralised control and surveillance practises. As with copyright, data protection and transaction confidentiality, users are seeing their rights diminishing with each round of discussions.

The facts I’ve just mentioned aren’t very encouraging for cultural and political players who were looking for an alternative to broadcasting and traditional communication on the network. But if they constitute a raft of conditions which have to be considered and which will force critical consciousness to grow, then there’s no need to ignore what this technological turning point can give us, nor what the new policies and new poetical qualities can be used for.

KFDA: Are we now in a kind of scenario where we can ask: “Tell me which technology you use and I will tell you who you are”?

Constant:

No, the technology used doesn’t tell us anything about the person, but it does say a lot about his economic environment and his work environment. Technology involves and influences every aspect of our lives and not only the lives of people who use computers for their work.

KFDA:You’ll also be having films and video.

Constant:

The network’s policy has brought back the heroic figures of cyberpunk (a literary and film genre from the 1980s). Digital resistance is like that of hackers (a term originally meaning being good with your hands, a handy DIY enthusiast, not ‘pirate’ like many people think) who used knowledge developed outside normal academic environs to pit their ingenuity against enforcement by something powerful. These modern tales provide many of us with intelligible tools relating to our responsibility towards these tools, in an ironic and critical way, which is becoming more topical. If the gothic imagination in them gives a dated image of it, a more thorough look will enable us to recognise that they give a very useful perspective on the social consequences of a mode of industrial production and broadcasting.

KFDA: Is the programme accessible to the general public?

Constant:

In the context of a festival like Verbindingen/Jonctions, theoretical debates coexist with so-called ‘popular’ culture. It’s perhaps easier to use fictional figures to understand political figures. If we project a manga (Japanese animated drawing) where we see a little girl taking apart her computer and installing a fantastic network on it, then the question of network, capabilities and women’s technological fantasies are as developed in it as they would be in discourses of the purest theoretical cyber-feminist kind.

Based on an interview with Constant vzw, December 2001.

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