Name Your Price was a participatory-media research laboratory installed at the 01SJ festival “Build Your Own World” in 2010. Festival-goers were invited to make micro-documentaries - individual video-portraits - relating the history of the clothes they were wearing and reflecting on the social cost of their consumer decisions. Participants were asked to consider the following questions: Do you build your own world through the choices you make about what you buy and what you wear? What do you care about? What are you angry about? What do you desire? Do your choices effect the environment? human rights? What do the purchases you make say about your personality? your politics? What are the social costs of your consumerism? Can we read the answers in the clothes you are wearing? Participants used a custom-built iPad app to answer questions about their clothing purchases in relation to four categories of concern: Politics, Fashion, Economics, and the Environment.
Visitors to the exhibition were invited to transform used clothing (from export bales that were part of the installation) into woven pieces using a giant hand loom.
This interface was mirrored in real-time on a screen facing the interviewee and visible to visitors outside the interview booth. After answering the iPad questionnaire, participants were given the opportunity to record a short video. A second screen and iPad interface allowed visitors to search and view all the recorded videos while another displayed the results of the iPad questionnaire by dynamically calculating the relative importance of each category of concern to the collective group of interviewees as the database of interviews grew over time. In this way, each participant's iPad-interview and video portrait became part of a collective portrait of how we build our own world through what we buy.
Name Your Price was an initiative of the Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) program's Participatory Culture Research Group at UCSC led by Sharon Daniel. The participatory media research lab at 01SJ was an off-shoot of the group's Social Cost Tracker research project which focused on the design and development of a mobile application that would allow users to track the social cost of their consumer practices.
Palabras was a set of tools, activities and interfaces, developed during a residency in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2004-2005 (before the advent of YouTube). Palabras was designed to facilitate collective self-representation by place-based communities and promote social inclusion. This workshop/tool-kit established a framework in which technologically disenfranchised and economically marginalized communities of place engaged in a broader social and political dialogue by building databases of their own design and sharing texts, sounds and images derived from their own world of experience.
Inexpensive digital video cameras that were designed to be “disposable” (now known as the “Flip” camera) were made re-usable (with the help of cable building instructions and free software found on a DIY technology website) and a web application was developed for editing, tagging and publishing the video produced with these cameras online.
These tools were designed for initial use in workshops at two cultural centers in Buenos Aires [El Envion in Villa Tranquila in the Municipality of Avellaneda and Crear Vale la Pena which serves the communities of La Cava and Boulogne]. The toolkit was eventually also used in workshops in Kiel (Germany), San Francisco and Darfur (Sudan).
Workshop participants used the transformed “disposable” digital video cameras to document their daily lives. The workshops focused on strategies for collective self-representation using software designed to allow participants to discover relationships and make connections between their personal stories. Workshop participants worked in groups using this custom-designed free software to edit and organize their video clips.
The software was designed specifically to allow the participants to discover relationships and make connections between their personal stories and images. The interface provided access to the videos through folksonomies (folk + taxonomies) created by participants. Thus, communities not traditionally thought of a scholarly or academic, produced and interpreted knowledge using media and information technology.
Palabras was first exhibited at the ISEA/ZeroOne Festival in San Jose, CA in 2006 and published in the online journal Dispaxt “Improvised Maps” issue. More recently Palabras was included in the award winning curatorial project and publication Abécédaire du Web: 26 concepts pour comprendre la création sur Internet as an example, along with Antonio Muntadas’ File Room, of the concept of “the Document”. Palabras is no longer online but in 2006 the project website provided access to an archive of over 2000 video clips created in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Kiel, Germany, San Francisco and San Jose, California (US) and Darfur, Sudan.
SUBTRACT THE SKY (2002-2004) @ DEAF03 OPEN TERRITORIES
Narrative Contingencies allowed participants to generate their own content (uploading images, texts and sounds) and construct new collaborative narratives using chance operations and linguistic analysis based on the semiotic square.
The semiotic square was developed by Algirdas J. Greimas, a Lithuanian linguist and semiotician. Greimas stated, "The square is a map of logical possibilities. As such, it can be used as a heuristic device, and in fact, attempting to fill it in stimulates the imagination… the theory of the square allows us to see all thinking as a game, with the logical relations as the rules and concepts current in a given language and culture as the pieces."
Narrative Contingencies consisted of six interfaces, each represented by a verb, read, write, give, find, tell and recall, emphasizing participation through these acts.
The images here represent documentation of these interfaces, now archived, and the installation of Narrative Contingencies at the Corcoran Gallery Biennial 2000, Media and Metaphor in Washington, DC.