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.dpi no7 :: Hard Mobility ::
by Sophie Le-Phat Ho

Sophie is a researcher and cultural organiser from Montreal. The current Coordinator of the DOCAM (Documentation and Conservation of the Media Arts Heritage) Research Alliance at the Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science, and Technology, she recently completed an MA in Anthropology of Health and the Body in the 21C at Goldsmiths College (University of London) after obtaining a BA in the Environment as well as Social Studies of Medicine at McGill University. She was the interim Programming Coordinator of Studio XX in 2005-06 and was the Editor-in-Chief of .dpi in 2006. She has also worked as Project Officer for terminus1525.ca at the Canada Council for the Arts. She was one of the curators of UpgradeMTL, a monthly event on technology, politics and culture, as part of the Upgrade! International network. Sophie also participates in anti-racist and migrant justice campaigns through various forms, and is a member of the No One is Illegal - Montreal network. The co-founder of Artivistic (artivistic.org), she works at the intersection of art, science and activism. (Portrait by pardenarden)
Link: http://artivistic.org
Qu'est-ce qui vous turn on? / What turns you on?
friendship, hacking of all kinds, beats, a lot of bass


What is mobile art exactly? These days, it seems to have to do with your cell phone or PDA. With the emergence of mobile and locative art, the connection between art and industry counts yet another important instance. Indeed, mobile art echoes… well, hype. Which leads to the question: what are we really doing with these technologies? Of course, mobility sounds attractive and cute because of its reference to things like, say, freedom? Sounds a bit too familiar doesn’t it… Fortunately, producing mobile art forces you (hopefully) to deal with the ethical and political implications during the creative and production process. Where does the technology come from? Who made it? How was it made? Who is able to purchase it? Why? What is its built purpose? What else can it do? How is it that one is able to enjoy mobility? Which companies and institutions made it possible? Because the mobility of bodies also implies the mobility of surveillance, of consumerism. On the other hand, it can also mean the mobility of information and of skills. One of the ways that we will be able to remain critical of mobility is to make it open source. Sharing information, exchange, dialogue, means that information and power will not be centrally located, away from the users.

This seventh issue of .dpi is about the technologies of mobility. It’s called “hard mobility” because of the hardware, but also because it is always the right moment to think hardly about the notion of movement, of globalization, of exploration, and their social implications. This current issue does not include any cell phone art; it rather shows how one can defend him or herself from cell phones! On the other hand, if we really want to push mobile art to one of its limits, then why not implant a biochip in our own mobile bodies? The above comes out of a visit to the last HOPE #6 hacker conference in NYC at the end of July 2006. The unfolding of that major convention also offered the opportunity to talk about women & hackers with artist/engineer Ladyada and others. “Hard mobility” may also refer to harsh conditions (both physical and cultural), like with the exploration of Nunavut by the Makrolab team who devised a completely mobile and open source research laboratory that claims to leave no environmental trace, only a social one through dialogue and interaction with the local community.

In this issue as well, Studio XX sheds theoretical light on its major tenth anniversary archiving project, Matricules, as well as on the latest artist-in-residence, Isabelle Choinière, and her new project “Corps indice.” As well, in tandem with Studio XX’s tenth anniversary conference, Event X (October 5-6, 2006), participant Diane Willow shares further information on her panel entitled “Volumes: Sound and Space”

                                        tinto coffee house