RIAM 2010 edition.

Back to technological future.

Nowadays, artistic events devoted to connections between art and technology are facing a paradox : how to stand back from technological glorifications, in a consumerist world constantly saturated by new gadgets? RIAM (International Multimedia Art Meetings) have always focused on analyzing and criticizing the technology’s role and the artists way of appropriate and embezzled it. Even if technology have transformed our everyday life in a distinct way, RIAM’s programming has never been blindly rushed into enthusiasm for new technological feats. It seems evident to us that media and technical evolution have radically transformed our way of organizing, interpreting and understanding the world. The German philosopher Friedrich A. Kittler (1) proposes a regard on technology which links it to cognitive models in history. According to him, technological tools are structuring thought, they aren’t neutral: if they are the result of human inventions’ capacity, they are also a mean to modify our link with the world.

Across technical history, this RIAM edition make a sort of inventions’ archaeology, reconsidering as well successively replaced media (16 mm film, super 8, audio tape, polaroïd, analogical synthesizer, pinhole, vinyl, video recorder) as functions, objectives (and dreams) which are often abandoned too. In this context, many artists have recently taken an interest in low-tech technology, recycling obsolete analogical models. It consists in investing autonomy, according to a " do it yourself " principle. Others artists can take an interest in transfers between low and high tech, as existing in our everyday’s life practices, where phone coexist with virtual social networks. Some of them, are still applying to use with irony old technological terms when using high level tools, in a resistance to fascination produced by smooth images and media imagery.

At the heart of these artists reflections, there is a questioning about progress illusion, which have became the technological market’s catch phrase, constantly searching for new consummation horizons. In parallel, many artists are also wondering about production’s means bidding and imposed scale’s change in festivals and biennials contexts, which are dominated by communication strategy at the expense of real artistic’s issues. So, this RIAM edition is aiming take a temporal step back, without falling into a retro-futuristic aesthetic. It rather consists in understanding the present by taking an interest in how past technology made us dreaming about an-other future.

(1) Grammophon, Film, Typewriter (Writing Science), the original edition dates from 1986.