The most common themes of the 2007 International New Media Festival Taipei were focused on new media definition, its boarders and bridges with old media territories. The joint Australia/Taiwan curatorial team had invited new media artists and academics advancing projects as broad as architecture, net art, political cartooning, illustration, animation, media performance and video/film to speak, show their work and introduce their students and faculty projects. While Prof. Chen, Chih-Cheng | NTUA | Chairman Graduate Program in Fine Arts contextualised our indulgences by concluding in a Baudrillard style that 'nothing is real' and reciting the new media mantra 'similacrum, similacrum, similacrum...' we, collectively, attempted to betwixt similacrua to stimulate debate about the culturally diverse territories of new media. We shared our various ideas, aesthetics and technologies and enthusiastically conveyed our resolve for future collaboration, manifestation, expansion, explosion and implosion across many art and cultural terrains. I liken our academic fixations to tertiary memory: a term raised by Dr. Catherine Summerhayes | ANU | Professor Media Cultures, referring to ‘experience that has been recorded and is available to consciousness without ever having lived that memory’. This is not a criticism, on the contrary, it is an acknowledgment that our conversations are just beginning. The seed has been planted in our conciousness and, in tertiary memory, all dreams are real and media infinate.
Is everything always available? Chairing a panel titled 'Comics v.s. New Media', Jayne Pilling | TNUA | Prof. Dept. Multimedia and Animation Arts highlighted the importance of a) time and b) readership in relation to the moving image and the purpose of animation. Prof. Pilling also went on to encapsulate the crux of the entire conference, its context and timeliness to question the ‘animatability’ of new media. I agree. I also agree that as artists, we have a responsibility to question the 'animatability' of ideas, audiences, cultures and states. Conversely, considering political, societal, technical, metaphysical and economic freedoms is one way of understanding the editorial constraints placed on new media ecologies. This role could not be better articulated than through the works of comic satirists, political cartoonists and critical media commentators. Lucien Leon | ANU | Lecturer: Centre for New Media Arts spoke on ‘Political Cartoons and the Electronic Media: Retooling the Printed Political Cartoon to a New Media Context’. Leon introduced his own works and illustrated some of the problems of Kerchhove's longer-term rhythm D.J's. Political Cartoonists, he argued, need quick-response platforms to disseminate socio/political responses to current news events constantly relayed on multi-networked international formats. I could not avoid making the links between R.O.C Taiwan's censorship arrangements and Australia's anti-Sedition Laws for instance but Leon reminds us that these juristictions are challenged by new editorial, ethical and legal territories in an age of blogs, e-lists, and emerging wifi and blutooth technologies that are designed to enable free-speech and new authors outside of commercial and state-sanctioned publication. Creatively exploiting the portable, private platform of iPod technology, Leon's animated cartoons (shown the accompanying exhibition) are a strong and critical commentary on contemporary Australian political health. Despite the success of the pieces, Leon explains the need for further development of quick-response new media format advocating for greater opportunities for collaboration and simplification of digital processes to reduce the cost and time to the artist. He looks foward to an increase in immediate and spontaneous publication options, greater bandwidth access and cost minimization strategies to protect, and promote, the role of the political cartoonists in ever-increasing new media societies.
In his paper title and ‘From illustration to Animation – using ‘A Fish with a Smile’ as example’, C. Jay Shih | NTUA | Associate Professor /Chairman Dept. Multimedia and Animation Arts introduced the issues associated with animating traditional media for contemporary audiences in Taiwan. Prof. Shih lamented that students are criticized for being too artistic and not reaching new audiences, and describes his own strategies for finding a balance and making progress. He explained the "artist-as-mother by artificial insemination" role in the collaboration with a publicly sanctioned political cartoonist called Jimmy and the processes he took as the artist/producer attempting to transform a traditional and culturally iconic illustration into a commercial animation. Prof. Shih took the idea of ‘A Fish with a Smile’ to a national short film festival and offered to produce the promotional ‘trailer’ for event. His project proposed to reinforce the message of the festival, flatter and adopt the earlier works of the original illustrator Jimmy and attract endorsement and investment for further developments in new media animations.
On 'Student filmmaking in the era of New Media', Gene-Fon Liao | NTUA | Assoc. Prof. & Chairman Motion Picture, says independent and student films are flourishing in Taiwan compared to commercial films. Taiwan's schools are modeled on the US system and students are able to produce short films in groups of four. Awareness in new media academia includes skill-transfer in: wholesale digital media; computer generated image; program development, production management, financing, financing, marketing and distribution treating projects like business/ enterprise; moving image mate ship based on animatics etc.; looking at the viewing experience HD or HDV filmmaking compared to digital and user-end experiences for example U-Tube users thinking that 10minute films are a bit too long and understanding the need to capture their audience imagination upfront. Nevertheless, Professor Lion admits that digital film screening in Taiwan and digital media training is slow, and student professionals are actually advocating for film-based traditions. Furthermore, students are falling back on the past and using traditional printing as animation fodder for example and there reveals a trend of Neo Spectacle and Neo Narrative genres. Online blogs are the best marketing tools for student works be they spectacles, hyper real, hypertext, non-linear and or animated digital film and video media.