RENEW 2013

The 5th International Conference on the Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology

Riga / October 8 – 11, 2013

"Paradigm Shift" Participants


DiY participatory culture: Allowing space for inefficiency, error and noise

Session:Paradigm Shift

Panel:Panel B (Paper session)


Venue:Stockholm School of Economics

Contemporary discourses of participatory culture are inevitably concerned with new media’s ability to provide an efficient interaction between users and a culture industry monopolising on providing agency. This trend encloses participatory agency in, what Bruno Latour calls, a “black box”: an efficient streamlining of complex mechanisms into a single teleology, in this case interactive technologies, designated as a closed functional unit. DiY (do it (y)ourself) culture expresses a marginalised history of media-arts: an anachronistic attitude to art and media in which redundant technologies are reused and “renewed” to create alternative contexts. The DiY ethos, with its reconnection to the operational level of participatory culture, challenges the “black-box” approach, assigning value to the excluded narratives of inefficiency, error and noise, and promoting a native transdisciplinary approach in its transgression of the lines of expertise. If this is the case, does the philosophy and practice of DiY culture exert a paradigm shift away from the focus of new media to a post-vicarious (or post-media) interaction with our cultural technologies? This paper looks at the success and failure of strategies to disrupt the seamlessness of media interaction: ad-hoc adaptations in circuit-bending; repurposing of outmoded technologies; and the error and noise which emerge from the otherwise suppressed narratives of “machine talk”. The aim is to offer a cultural counterpoint to the “efficiency” of new-media participation.

Emit Snake-Beings: Curriculum Vitae Ph: +6421 165 1233

Education and qualifications:

PhD candidate 2011 0nwards – Screen & Media, Waikato University, N.Z.
M.A. (First Class Honors) – The construction of Karen Karnak 2010, Screen & Media, Waikato University, N.Z.
B.A. (First Class Honors) – 2008, Screen & Media, Waikato University, N.Z.

Participatory projects:

Hamilton Underground Film Festival. [HUFF] 2006-2012 Yearly event involving local, national and international Filmmakers. Activities include: organising venues and publicity, website and press release writing, liaison with filmmakers, selection of films and program design. See or Wikipedia for more details.

The construction of Karen Karnak. (Multi-author pseudonym).Thirty nine participants were invited to collaborate via a WikiMedia website to create a collective body of work under the Karen Karnak multi-author name. The name continues to be used by participants as far afield as Catalonia, New Zealand, and Lithuania. May-August 2009.

International exhibitions

Alchemists convention, Melbourne, Australia 2012. 7th and final completed Bingodisiac improvised soundtrack to the film Alchemical Pilgrimage.

Upstage Festival 090909 9 September 2009 Karen Karnak Interactive web-based performance festival:

« Films of Snakebeings » Teatre Flor De Maig, Gratallops, & La Vilella Baixa, Priorat, Catalunya, Spain: 18th-19th July 2008.– 9 Films + Directors talk [in Spanish] + Live improvised film Soundtrack with The Kaosphere Orchestra and Arnolfini Collective.

OtherFilm Festival: (Brisbane, Australia, November 2007) – Performance and super8 film show. REF: – part of the ‘monster soup’ section during tour with the Venting Gallery Melbourne

Venting Gallery – Invisible Perspectives Tour: (Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Blue Mountains Sydney, November 2007) Film showings and combined expanded cinema projections working with Australian improvised sound makers

Sydney Shorts: (Australia- Cable access show TVS ch31 Aug 06) repeated on triangle TV in Auckland NZ – June 07 –Film screening The remote viewers, and Death of an Orchestra.

Press clippings and websites

Articles on the films of Snakebeings: Illusions NZ issues 41/43/44; OnFilm March/June 2010; Recycled technology shrines see; music and Night-line TV3 The shrines of Snakebeings 1999.

Creative projects and exhibitions in New Zealand

Cult of the Dead Light-Bulb, Hamilton. Sept 2012. Multi-media performance with masks and hand-made oscillator devices – Hamilton fringe festival

Waikato Museum of art and history, Intra-space project, Hamilton. November 2011: In-situ performance documentation, CCTV performance.

Frederick street sound and light exploration society, Wellington 5th October 2011- Bingodisiac: Live soundtrack to Alchemical Pilgrimage invited guest to the Fredstock music Festival11 musicians with 2 skype connected remote musicians from Catalonia.

Lawson & Calder Gallery October 2011. Hamilton, Group show
Handmade Pixels: Exposing the Animation Process, Curated by Lisa Perrott. 1 October – 30 October 2011- Film screening of Death of an Orchestra and exhibition of hand-made puppets used in the making of the film.

Audio Foundation HQ, Auckland. 18th and 19th june 2011 Bingodisiac: Live soundtrack to Alchemical Pilgrimage involving 25 musicians from the Vitimin S collective

Wintec Ramp Gallery, Hamilton, 5 November – 24th 2009 Incarnate: The [in]complete moving image works of Karen Karnak 1991-2009: multiple screen moving image installation and performance.

Aotearoa Digital Arts Symposium, Wellington, July 2009 Karen Karnak and digital materialities: Short presentation.

Hastings City Art Gallery, April 2009 Mind Games: Group exhibition of Surrealism in Aotearoa.

James Wallace Gallery Auckland 19th October 2007 Ghost Rider:
Five films screened as part of group show with James Robinson.

Renew programme

MAH website

Art+Communication festival


RIXC Centre of New Media Art

Maskavas street 10, Riga, LV-1050, Latvia
Ph. +371 67228478, +371 26546776 (Rasa Smite)

Renew contacts: