Helsinki, Montreal, Rotterdam, Chicago, Liverpool/Manchester, Paris, Nagoya, Helsinki, San Jose, Singapore – this was my 10th participation to the International Symposium on Electronic Arts. I was quite busy during the event, presented twice, moderated thrice. What is great about ISEAs is that since they happen in different locations, there are always new people and organisations to meet. Some of which will lead to long term collaborations, sometimes friendship. This edition of ISEA was chaired by Gunalan Nadarajan, who used to teach & run the research programme at La Salle, an art college with a brand new flashy building as one of the event venues. The production was done very well, yet to a degree without risks.
The conference of ISEA 2008 was high quality within the sessions, but the level of keynotes was perhaps more so a reflection of Singaporean funding and partnerships than high critical academic standards. I thought before the event that if there is no conflict what so ever between art works presented at ISEA and the Singaporean government, there is a reason to be concerned of the political and critical content of the work. As far as I know, no conflicts occurred. Despite the sharpest and most critical work perhaps missing or being not so visible, the over all feeling was that ISEA2008 was 4-0 betterr than the “Zero One Adobe ISEA” in San Jose.
I presented “Technologies of Location” paper in a session, which I also moderated. Feedback was good, and I also made a few new contacts relevant to my research on location based media. I also participated to the ASEF + IFACCA mini-summit on new media arts practice and policy, Leonardo Educational Forum as a moderator, Luminous Green and Futuresonic Urban Climate Camp workshops as a co-moderator and in addition moderated one more conference session. It was an incredibly busy and productive time, and I did meet many people whom I will keep in contact in the years to come.