As part of our coverage of ILLUMInations; The 54th Biennale di Venice we, at Swide, have been lucky enough to interview René van Engelenburg of DROPSTUFF.eu, an Urban Screen Network for the Digital and Interactive Arts.
Swide.com recently published an article regarding the relationship and interaction between music artists, music video and the audience (there is a link below this article). The article outlines the way media is being used to connect artist and audience together through the innovative use of new technologies. DROPSTUFF.eu have been developing methods of digital interaction and they are taking their project to La Biennale this for the 2nd time. Over to René:
1. First of all, could you explain the history of DropStuff and the aim of these projects. Do you have a target audience?
DROPSTUFF.eu is a product of a conversation about what should be the next museum of contemporary and actual arts; the aim is to use public space as a platform instead of 'the white cube' museum model where the public wanders along white walls (with the hands on their backs), bearing in mind that public space has enough 'context' as a starting point to tell stories about. Reaching new public groups and also encouraging active participation, this is a form that suits current times; new media has the power to reach almost everybody: from young to old and rich to poor.
2. To what extent can the audience contribute in terms of creativity and can they interact with the professionals who are a part of these projects?
DROPSTUFF.eu has three programs that are broadcasted: a program with professional interactive artworks and artistic games, An Open Podium program and an Education Program. Artworks broadcasted in the first category are almost always interactive and everybody with a smartphone can play the games on the screens by simply surfing to m.dropstuff.eu. For the Open Podium Program everybody can send their own artistic animations, films or short documentaries or games to our editorial staff. The best and most interesting works will be broadcasted on all the DROPSTUFF-screens.
3. You discuss the use of DS_Hotspots. How are these locations chosen and who can access these spots?
We place the 'HOTSPOTS', our public screens, on carefully chosen locations; places that have a natural ambiance and public presence like city centers or train hubs.
4. Artstuff - Artwork being shown full screen within the DROPSTUFF.nl format. You also say that these artworks have the possibility to be influenced through social and interactive media. Has this element produced any surprising results?
A good example is an artwork that we presented two years ago, also during the Biennale di Venezia: It was called: 'Outscourced Interactive Artwork' by the artists Blendid Instead of programming a lot of code, they simply hired a real person in Singapore who was watching video images of the public that walked by the screens all day. People saw themselves projected on the screen, but next to their heads they got comments from the person in Singapore, who was also visible. People liked this a lot!
5. Drop ya stuff! - First of all, great name for this project! This is an open stage for everybody to access through a DS_Account. What do you hope to be the outcome of this accessible media platform?
We like to be a platform for the Arts with a big ‘A’ and ‘a’ small a and broadcast this all together. So it's possible your own animation will be shown just after the work of a famous artist: the new museum, without walls (and the biggest audience)
6. DS_Workshops - These are aimed at high school pupils aged between 14 – 17 years. You are attending La Biennale again this year, fantastic, are you going to be offering the public a chance to attend a workshop or a talk regarding the work you are taking?
The Biennale is a platform for the most outstanding Arts internationally, so here we will focus on the professional artists. But at the same time we visit large, well-known pop festivals and schools where the focus will lay on producing your own media artwork. And in our Education Program we emphasize the possibilities and social dangers new media can bring.
7. As said above, you are attending La Biennale this year. I have seen that you use an impressive mobile LED-screen called the HOTSPOT_XL, will this be attending the La Biennale this year? And what can the public expect from your exhibition?
We will place three HOTSPOTS in Venice during the first months of La Biennale; One of them is our mobile screen HOTSPOT_XL, which is 60 m2 and will be placed on the Riva Ca' di Dio, next to the vaporettostop Arsenale. As said, we will present artistic games, which can be played by a smartphone, but we will also present a video program by Impakt.
8. What are you hopes for the future of DROPSTUFF.nl?
Next autumn our network in The Netherlands will exist using six screens. We hope to develop a bigger network in the coming years within Europe. At the same time we follow the digital possibilities closely and try to insert them as features for artists to use.
A fascinating project that is well worth checking out and experiencing for yourself. For more on DROPSTUFF.eu visit their website and follow them at La Biennale.
Images - www. dropstuff.eu
Text by Ben Taylor.