Audience Participation in Digital Culture

Point of Centre by Paul Wilson / Liquidiser

Posted by Pavel Sedlak on May 18, 2008

Point of Centre

Paul Wilson / Liquidiser

The presentation will aim to answer the key question of ‘who cares about art in the information age’ by suggesting audiences be given a reason to care, through both participatory and inclusive methodologies and being shown how new media art can reflect aspects of their lived experience.

The ‘Point of Centre’ is a project centred around a series of experimental documentary narratives – short films attempting to record places in transition; environments at a point of major or traumatic change. The ‘Point of Centre’ attempts to make use of new media art practise within documentary or journalistic traditions and contexts: using first-person reportage and access gained through discussion and negotiation with those individuals and groups affected by, or undergoing, such change. This information is then reprocessed in order to explore the fragmented and fragmentary nature of contemporary urban experience. Between late 2006 and mid 2007 Liquidiser gained access to four such spaces in Northampton (UK), each in the process of change: a hospital, cemetery, (produce) market and transport nexus. We aimed to record them all at this point of trauma and demolition or transition to another use. The Point of Centre project is a record of gaining such access and the potential for communicating documentary narratives alongside a means of connecting decisions made regarding space and place with users, stakeholders and citizens. In terms of audience, Liquidiser seeks to explore new methods to reconnect the subjects / participants / inhabitants with their respective spaces (work, healthcare, transport etc). In particular, ‘Head and Neck’ documented the closure of three operating theatres in Northampton General Hospital (UK) and was forged from a close working relationship with workers in the health profession. This film’s audience was built through ongoing liaison in terms of making, presentation and discussion of work-in-progress via blog and small-scale viewing. The audience for such work was first and foremost targeted as those effected by closures in this healthcare institution and was developed through participation in public meeting and grass-roots political engagement. The nature of the work itself – experimental, exploratory and resolutely non-commercial – was enriched by the ongoing involvement of participants in the local democratic and activist community. Liquidiser aims to find and develop new audiences in the East Midlands region of the UK through a determined vision of building communities around it’s new media projects: whether curating grass-roots new media events or participating in awareness-raising activities in order to make connections and forge new links with members of local communities. It believes strongly that audiences for new media exist within the everyday, within those effected by and subject to decisions made in the political process. While it doesn’t aim to give a ‘voice’ to specific communities, it prefers to allow them access to a means of communicating a shared understanding of their experiences. The presentation at ‘New Media Art Audiences’ would outline the remit and scope of Liquidiser’s ‘Point of Centre’ project and focus, in particular, on the ‘Head and Neck’ film as an early attempt to build new audiences for new media through a determined focus on workers, participants and – most importantly – those whose lives are effected by decisions made regarding the use and function of public and / or private space.

Bio: Paul Wilson / Liquidiser (UK) is a grass-roots, experimental new media community arts organisation based in the East Midlands region in the United Kingdom. It has emerged from a long-running experimental audio workshop whose key aim was to forge links within the creative communities within Northamptonshire (UK). In the last six years it has grown into a regional voice for new media arts development and has forged strong links with previously disparate groups whose major interest centres around improvisation, experimentation and the making of new work through a range of media formats and technologies. Between 2003 and 2006 Liquidiser hosted and curated ‘Beta Testing’, a ground-breaking series of seventeen new media laboratory sessions whose aim was to present the rich and diverse new talent within the region. From this Liquidiser gained funding to produce ‘Point of Centre’, an ambitious multimedia package consisting of film, sound and text aiming to chronicle the rapid pace of change overtaking their town. This CD / DVD / Print publication is due for imminent release in mid 2008. www.theliquidiser.co.uk

One Response to “Point of Centre by Paul Wilson / Liquidiser”

  1. […] 15.30–16.00 Paul Wilson / Liquidiser: Point of Centre […]

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