Project Outline

SPECFLIC is speculative distributed cinema: a cinematic form which envisions performs our near future through the lenses of our current technological landscape.

SPEC-FLIC projects 30 years into the future of significant public environments to create site-specific speculative narratives that unfold over the course of a expandable multi-media event. SPEC-FLIC uses cutting edge transmission and display technologies to expand a critical dialogue (begun in science fiction literature and cinema) about the social effects of these very technologies. Live ambient performances streamed through mobile video platforms, monitoring and sensor networks, and an array of asynchronous media forms are "mixed," clustered, and projected throughout the building, to produce a new form of cinematic experience; one that is distributed across space and time.

SPEC-FLIC's performance of the near future is played out in the landscape of the present (the projected residue of our past) – a reminder that we are always already living in our future. In its first iteration, SPEC-FLIC's characters and narrative arc are drawn from discussions and interviews with UCSD-based scientists, engineers, social scientists and humanists engaged in a wide range of research. Its second iteration is being developed for the San Jose Public Library at ISEA2006.

SPEC-FLIC's performers improvise their characters activities within an overall narrative arc. Throughout the piece, the performers reflect the ways in which we adapt our gestures, languages, and styles of communication to the technologies we use. Over the course of the performance, community-produced text and photo streams merge with performative media to stimulate creative expression and critical thought concerning our shared future.

SPEC-FLIC continues my development of new performance and media forms that emerge out of the application of literature in tele-communications environments. Among the ongoing questions the artwork seeks to address:
>What new languages (spoken, written, drawn, gestured) are formed through engagements with "new" communication technologies?
>What role do poetry, drama and literature play in an increasingly audiovisual world?
>What are the necessary conditions for encouraging creative expression and interaction on a large public scale?
>Can speculative performance instigate community-wide critical examination of our assumptions about education, research and community?
> Can we imagine the future of our public institutions?

SPEC-FLIC is a subproject of ActiveCampus (co P.I. Bill Griswold) which pursues "reliable, scalable and useful mobile computing." As such the work is developed alongside art and computer science researchers working in the arena of critical cartography and location-aware computing. The process of the project's development (in the context of an ongoing ubiquitous computing research group) is reflective of the growing practice of artists working within teams of researchers from other disciplines to develop hybrid works that challenge the boundaries of what gets to be understood as "creative" or "technical."

Drawing from my years of work in interactive TV, with SPECFLIC, I'm combining many expressive forms (text, video streams, photo streams, pre-recorded material, etc) from many sources and direct a week-long narrative arc projected in multiple, clustering display forms. The audience is not consuming a single stream, but rather is enveloped by a world of streams, and made complicit within our collectively imagined future.