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文字機器創作集 | THE WRITING MACHINE COLLECTIVE

以香港為創作基地的新媒體藝術創作及研究群體 a Hong Kong-based new media art group

WMC_e5:  2014.10.09-22, Connecting Space-HK: “Tracing Data: What You Read is Not What We Write”

WMC_e4: 2010.01.15-30, Youth Square: “Computational Thinking in Existing Art Forms”

WMC_e3: 2008.05.15-07.30, Hong Kong Museum of Art (part of Digit@logue)

WMC_e2: 2007.01.12-02.08, Videotage, 1a Space (Cattle Depot): “Writing & Machine as Sites”

WMC_e1: 2004.07.17-08.07, 1a Space (Cattle Depot)

Participating artists in WMC exhibitions (2004 – 2014) 

 

What is The Writing Machine Collective (WMC)?

The WMC is a HK-based media art collective with a research-based orientation and theoretically engaged in new media issues. The following keywords demonstrate some of our key concerns:

*Writing systems as the creation of codes and symbols, writing as performance versus writing as inscription

*User interface, compression, dictionary, data structure, information theory, codification…

*Data visualization as forms of reading and writing

*Computing as an artistic medium, algorithm as a thought process, machine as space, as process, and as an organism

*Cyber-text over hyper-text, poetry over narrative, syntax over semantics

The Writing Machine Collective (WMC), since its inception, has published four exhibitions (2004, 2007, 2008 and 2011) in Hong Kong. The first edition, WMC_e1 (2004), was an attempt to solicit attention for how coding can be the conjuncture of literature, machine and visual creation. A large part of the research process was about clarifying concepts for our intellectual curiosity, and at the same time looking for handy solutions for technical realization from existing software packages.

WMC_e2 (2007) explored writing as multiple sites of cultural engagement. The idea of writing was explored via diversity in user-interfaces – writing as a generative process, a performance, a bodily event, a form of artistic intervention and so on. WMC_e3 (2008), part of Digitalogue, a historical retrospective of media art in Hong Kong curated by Ellen Pau on behalf of the HK Museum of Art, focused on writing as a digital art. Although WMC_e3 only contributed five works to Digitalogue, the showcase upheld the centrality of codes and code-writing in new media, and subsequently led us to consider once again the idea of art beyond the object of aesthetic judgment. In this sense, none of the completed works physically displayed could be considered final, but they were tentative display objects articulating only some of the many tangential relations a display may bear to the coding process.

In 2011, WMC_e4 maintained programming literacy as a core mission, and code-writing at the core of creative activities. Our previous exhibitions gained for us some basic experience in dialoguing with the contemporary art community and reviewing questions of community building. WMC_e4’s specific problematic was to find adequate forms to present the process-oriented character of computational, code-base creative works to the ordinary visitors. In the words of our Research Director Hector Rodriguez’s words, we found it essential to “open up the black box” of the creative processes. To examine digitality and computational thinking philosophically in non-digital works with an interdisciplinary vision was also part of our agenda. WMC_e4 had 8 invited works and 4 works solicited from an open call. In this edition, as an experiment to see how computational thinking could be expressed in more familiar art forms, a video program was curated through an open call.

WMC favours flexible organization. We choose to focus on gathering local artists while creating conversations with guest artists from overseas. While half of the artists in the current WMC_e4 had participated in previous exhibitions, our general practice is to freely invite interested artists and programmers to present their concept in a work. Whereas we seek to explore the positive side of ‘circle of acquaintances’ in networking, our ‘participation-by-invitation’ model has each time been complemented by open call for works in order to keep our community open. Lectures, workshops and student laboratories are always part of our program as strategic arms to develop quality audience and committed artist-researchers for the future.

The most recent exhibition, WMC_e5, took place in October 2014.

(Linda C.H. LAI, Artistic Director, 2014)


「文字機器創作集」創作群體

「文字機器創作集」 (WMC) 是一個立足香港的媒體藝術集合,值著研究為本的方位和理論介入而進行各種各樣的新媒體創作。「文字機器創作集」所關注的主要問題可以透過以下的關鍵片語表達:

*編碼和象徵符號構成的「書寫」系統;「書寫」作為一種抒演狀態Vs「書寫」作為銘刻、印記的活動

*用者的介面;(資料的)壓縮;字典;資料的結構;訊息論;編碼…

*數據的呈現作為新媒體領域的「書寫」和「閱讀」的新模式

*電算機作為一種創作的媒體;規則系統演算法作為一種思路的過程;機器的空間面向;機器作為過程;有機性的機械

*電動制文本Vs 超文本;詩 Vs 敍事;造句 Vs 語意構成

從2004年成立至今,「文字機器創作集」共出版過四期的作品展。第一集(WMC_e1)於2004年舉行,試圖在本地媒體藝術圈引起一些注意和討論,示範電腦編碼作為創作平臺如何與文學、機器、及影像交匯衝擊。今天回顧當日,很大部分的研究過程是為了釐清一些觀念來滿足知識上的好奇,同時又因創作想像上的需要,而從坊間現成的軟件工具中尋找快速的技術上的解決方案。

2007年的《文字機器創作集第二輯》(WMC_e2)專注於探討「書寫」作為文化生活領域上的不同實踐場所,以至「書寫」在新媒體的技術範圍內的延伸性。從觀念的實驗上,不同的「書寫」活動可以理解為層出不窮的用者介面-「書寫」可以是個此時此地、現在式的衍生過程、可以是一種表演,一項以軀體參與數據的創作的活動等等。而2008年的第三輯(WMC_e3)是一共五件的作品群,於香港藝術館的《數碼演義》(由鮑海倫總策展)展覽中以「文字機器創作集」為群體單位展出。五件作品目標一致地以探討「書寫」作為數碼藝術的可能性。對於新媒體的定義和譜系的問題,這五件作品標誌著重要的再起步- 程式編碼與編碼設計是新媒體的核心,由此推下去,就成為重新檢視「甚麼是藝術品」這老問題,因為傳統的藝術品作為審美對象的定位已失效。用另一種方法來說,所有於場中出現的「展品」都不是創作的「終極」,而是以電腦編碼為核心的漫長和多變的衍生過程中的一個中途站、一個中途的實驗展示。在藝術家的編排上,也刻意地強調他們在程式編碼上的自主與技術上的成熟程度。

2011年的《文字機器創作集第四輯》(WMC_e4),累積了六年的經驗,在方向上顯然地較之前清晰。繼續推廣程式編碼的素養固然是首要的任務,同時也明白到尋找與當代藝術群體對話的接合點的重要性,而在建立藝術群體上又有那些地方須要注意。WMC_e4以「數碼化與計算思維」(computational thinking)為主題,其特定課題之一是關乎美學上的。如何為「過程」為本 — 即過程與產品同等重要,或過程比產品更重要,並以編碼為基礎 — 的新媒體藝術尋找合理的表達或展出形式?同時,我們提出了計算思維的出現先於數碼藝術的普及,在二十世紀的藝術實驗中早有伏線和先例。為此,我們透過公開徵稿而策展了兩個錄像放映節目,以「活動影像作為書寫機器」為題,播放十來個錄像作品。這算是一次實驗,透過較為人熟悉的錄像媒體去表達計算思維以及可引申的藝術想像活動。

在「文字機器創作集」未來的探索議程上其中一項最重要的是:如何以跨界的視野去從非數碼、非電子的作品中探討數碼化與計算思維哲學。如創作集的研究總監羅海德所說,「如何打開黑箱作業」的多向創作過程,仍須努力。

「文字機器創作集」傾向維持靈活的組織方針,並選擇專注於招聚本地的藝術家。過往每一輯的《文字機器創作集》都依據現有的理論著作進行深入討論,並由藝術家們自由作出對策,將它們化為不同的創作實驗課題。每一屆的《文字機器創作集》,約有半數的藝術家都曾參與過去的展出。一如既往地我們歡迎有興趣的藝術家和程式員加入,從而透過作品展示他們的概念。在歷屆的展覽中,我們除了以「邀請參展」的方式運作,亦同時以公開募集作品的方法來保持我們群體的開放性。過去幾輯的展覽,我們都從公開募集中選出了有意思的作品,保持群體的開放性。我們也謹守藝術教育的堅持,總體節目除了展出外也包括了講座、工作坊和學生實驗坊。

最新一期的展覽 – 《文字機器創作集》第五集 — 於2014年10月發表。

(黎肖嫻/ 「文字機器創作集」藝術總監, 2014)

 


ARTISTIC DIRECTOR (Project Development & WMC founder): Linda C.H. LAI / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: Justin C.T. WONG / DIRECTOR FOR RESEARCH AND EDUCATION: Hector RODRIGUEZ // WMC_e5 execution team - Project Manager: Orlean LAI / Program Director: Hector RODRIGUEZ / Art Director: Justine WONG / Technical Director: William WONG / Project Director/Editor: Linda LAI