Author Archives: Charlotte Frost

Magic Typing

The other day I was completely fascinated by a session attendee who appeared to be typing into mid-air. From where I was sitting, I could see that she had a wireless Mac keyboard on her lap and was listening and typing attentively WITHOUT A SCREEN! WITHOUT A SCREEN, PEOPLE! I nudged the friend next to me said “should someone tell her she’s missing a bit?” We chuckled and mused over where the signal was going – oh and we took a video which you just have to watch because it looks so magical. Was there a microchip in her head? A holographic screen only she could see?

Eventually I bumped into the magic typist and asked her what she was up to. Turns out, simply enough, she (artist, curator and educator Siochain Hughes) was Bluetooth connecting to her iPhone. She raved about doing this, saying how easy it is to take notes this way while staying focused on the speaker. And she urged me to spread the word. Well, consider the word spread, Siochain – I hope to join you in the magic typing gang soon!

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My Paper

I’m giving a paper on Saturday in the Session: Dark Matter of the Art World II, which is in the Trianon Ballroom from 2.30 – 5.00pm. My paper is called Furtherfield Inside Out, here’s the abstract:

This paper will present and theorise the work of the UK-based arts community with reference to the session’s proposed notion that such work ‘performs aesthetic anarchy outside designated art domains and embeds itself in social conflict’. It will focus on three projects: Visitor’s Studio, DIWO and Zero Dollar Laptop, describing how they instigate an alternate artistic activity rich with meaning and the capacity for social and cultural change – without ever making it onto the mainstream art radar. It will closely examine the way such projects empower participants, challenge conventions for artistic engagement, and set out a cohesive and transformative critical practice. It will contrast this stance with naturalised systems of art discourse, making a strong case for how this type of ‘phenomena’ redevelops the creative and critical landscape.

This paper was partly inspired by a new short video by Pete Gomes on the work of Furtherfield. Due to time constraints, I can’t show the video with my paper, but it’s exactly how I would illustrate what I’m going to talk about, if I could, so I’m including the video here as as an appropriately online demonstration of my topic and indeed the field of arts I specialise in. Enjoy!

Furtherfield – a Short Film by Pete Gomes from Furtherfield on Vimeo.

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Tweet Lite

I had a panic first thing this morning due to not being able to get online in the session rooms. I’m from the UK so it’s crazy expensive for me to turn data-roaming on on my iPhone and I misread the wifi policy for people not staying here. Aside of the fact I’m just one of those people who feels a bit out of the loop unless I can get to Twitter, Facebook or my RSS feeds, this panic also has a great deal to do with the way I process information – particularly at conferences.

It was apt that I was having this panic from the session on Technology and Collaboration the Art History Classroom. One of the speakers mentioned how much more engaged her students were when given the opportunity to apply the information they were receiving actually during the lecture. The rest of the session went on to look at what tools art historians are using to allow for this participative engagement.

I’m the same as those students. In the time before Twitter (maybe 5 years BT), I used to get serious conference fatigue because I felt like I was being exposed to all sorts of inspiring and rich ideas but I didn’t know where to put them. And as I hate missing anything, when I perhaps should take myself off to think stuff through, I’ll stay in a session feeling ever more flooded with information. In these post-Twitter times (that’s PT), at a conference, I find it really useful to tweet summaries of what’s being talked about alongside my own ideas (which seem to come quicker when I can do short, sharp summaries to digest what’s being said) as well as interact with people who aren’t there in the session – spreading the debate even wider. I like being able to go back and retrieve these tweets, which turn out very differently to the notes I might take, and are also usually full of links for me to follow up on. In addition to this, I’ve come to rely on twitter hashtags to find out what’s being talked about in other session rooms so that I can make a note to find out about that session later on.

Not being able to tweet today has confirmed in my mind just how useful I find it and how it makes me engage in different way with the information I’m being exposed to. I was a little surprised in all the tools talked about in Technology and Collaboration the Art History Classroom that twitter wasn’t mentioned. I have successfully used it with my own students to help them tighten up the way they relay information. Forgetting – for the moment – the debate over whether SMS-speak/slang diminishes language, being forced to convey an idea very briefly forces you to get to the essence of that idea. My own students wrote much better essays after I’d had them tweet their notes and really think about how people would understand what they were saying.

So today was strange for me. I felt a bit lost without my favourite tool.  On the other hand, it was pointed out to me that as I’d been forced to just sit and listen, and couldn’t juggle several data streams, I was a lot less stressed!

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Getting Excited!

Thank goodness nobody’s about because they’d have to deal with how excited I am about flying out to New York tomorrow for the CAA conference.

It will be my first trip to New York in nearly five years and (shhh, don’t tell anyone) my first experience of a CAA conference.

I’m exhausted just thinking about the schedule but knowing how many interesting people I’m going to meet has got me raring to go. My business cards (pictured) are fresh off the stamp; I’ve tied up all my freelance writing work; abandoned my students to prepare an animated Foucauldian dialogue on a painting of their choice and am champing at the bit for brain-food CAA-styleeee (and maybe the odd cocktail if you’re offering)!

See you all soon…

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