DYNAMOBILITIES

Introduction

Andrea Polli

Mesa Del Sol Endowed Chair of Digital Media
Associate Professor, Fine Arts and Engineering
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque

How do we experience space in the American Southwest? Usually through the window of a fast-moving machine. We have built our lives around these machines at speed. They have become our homes, dining rooms, offices and identities. We spend money and time on comfort, style and utility and dot the landscape with our custom cars, motorcycles and pick-up trucks. The theme of Dynamobilities attempted to address the phenomena of mobile machines and their local and global manifestations, implications and futures. Specifically, Dynamobilities was created to investigate more sustainable solutions to mobility in both physical and virtual space.

The use of the prefix, ‘dyna,’ meaning ‘power,’ was inspired by visionary architect and designer Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion Car (short for Dynamic Maximum Tension). The car was an enterprise that involved collaboration between the highest levels of art, science, technology and design, and although it didn’t make it into mass production, its influence still resonates. The Dynamobilities theme channeled the spirit of Fuller and the Dymaxion Car by celebrating experimentation on a high level, including experimentation that may fail. True experimentation must include the pursuit of impractical, fanciful ideas because playful, artistic experimentation helps to grow the seeds of inspiration and joy.

Joy and play were very evident in the Dynamobilities themed works for ISEA2012. Many of these celebrate the independent, DIY spirit and guerilla-style action. Hacking, mashing, modding and repurposing are the modes of production evident in our contemporary mobile culture. Mobile entrepreneurs redefine commerce and exchange, electronics and hardware recyclers merge high- and low-tech methods, map hackers overlay sound, image and other media on the virtual environment and urban guerillas create new mobile and wi-fi autonomous networks and experiences. In a time of peak oil when motorized vehicles as we know them have gone far past their expiration date, the artists, scholars, workshops and discussions featured through Dynamobilities helped to redefine public and private space and offered alternative visions for a playful transition.