In 2013, Media-N received two exciting, independent proposals for guest edited, thematic editions on the subject of Big Data. We immediately recognized that each proposal offered new theoretical perspectives on the topic and we chose to publish two distinct, yet complementary, issues. We asked guest editors to develop content on the thesis of ‘art and infrastructures’ across two consecutive editions with the intention of exploring the role of visualization in fostering a better understanding of our shared networks. To this end, our guest editors proposed that the first edition would focus more specifically on the physical structures of these channels and the networks they construct – cables, satellites, and other built structures that make global telecommunication transmissions possible. The second edition would address the intangible technologies that link the social and the technological, such as the seemingly invisible conventions, protocols, languages, and knowledge structures that shape contemporary networked life.
The first edition, “Art & Infrastructures: Hardware,” co-guest edited by Meredith Hoy and Kris Paulsen, was published in May 2014 (http://median.newmediacaucus.org/art-infrastructures-hardware/). Now, it is with great pleasure that we publish the second edition, “Art & Infrastructures: Information,” co-guest edited by Kevin Hamilton and Terri Weissman, who eloquently discuss in their Guest Editorial Statement, both the distinctive perspectives and interconnections between the two successive editions. We are excited by the publication of the current issue and believe that the combined special editions – v10. n.01 and n.03 – represent a significant contribution to this field of research.
The subsection of Media-N devoted to the publication of Reviews and Reports features two interviews and one review. First, Pat Badani interviews artist Roderick Coover, a pioneer in interactive documentary arts and poetics. Coover discusses his latest, major collaborative piece Hearts and Minds: The Interrogations Project, a 3D narrative experience conceived for the CAVE2 environment and shown in July 2014 at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Electronic Visualization Laboratory. The artist discusses his approach to engaging the subject of violence and post-traumatic stress encountered by ordinary American soldiers who developed into torturers while serving their country in Iraq. Next, Abigail Susik interviews artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, an early innovator in a wide range of approaches to interactive electronic works that call for public participation, civic debate, and collective play. Lozano-Hemmer considers the ways that new media art evokes the aesthetic concept of ‘mimesis.’ He also discusses his works in reference to the notion of the ‘carnivalesque’ – moments of interruption in regular narratives of power that are liberating because rules of representation are broken down. Finally, Geoffrey Alan Rhodes writes a review of Broadway Augmented, a significant Augmented Reality (AR) virtual art installation project installed along the Broadway business district in Sacramento, California. Held in September 2014 and co-curated by Shelly Willis and Rachel Clarke, this public art project that involved eleven artists, was sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission.