PEOPLEText: Mariko Takei

That’s kind of what Geert and you are taking about at the salon like “Tactical Media.”

Tactical Media is like..I think Geert and a lot of people from these organizations used to be squatters. They take empty houses and live there. That was the time there were a lot of empty houses in Amsterdam. So they take those available spaces, live there and use computers. Actually DeWaag is right now orgnizing the conference for next March called “Next 5 Minutes” (N5M).

I think this is third time, so this time it is called N5M3. I’m involved in it as an international consultant. Idea with that is to try to bring people from different countries that are involved with the idea of public access media, involved with like technology and also working on media for social and political cause to bring them together. So tactical media is almost like to discuss the media strategy you know, what you can do with this new media. For example how do you mobilize a kind of the social movement. Or more even small things. People do different kind of organization in a different community like small community.

Over the years what we found out is in the different country, different people are doing different things. Well may be some people in Okinawa are having like the anti-militaly base for many years. I lived there in 1996 and I was doing the project. Also they have all these same kind of problem with ecology because of the military base. So people need that kind of local and global relationship. So once you know it’s like some kind of connection between different kind of groups, everybody come together. It’s really great.

Are they going to do net events for N5M3?

I think they will have a real conference in Amsterdam. Of course there will be a lot of net events and kind of things. I think the whole idea of tactical media is also like it’s not necessary you have to use the most high end technology. If you don’t have the internet, then you can use the fax. If you don’t have fax, then you can…

Write a letter!

Yeah. Exactly (Laugh). So the idea is not technology. The idea is what would you utilize, archive what you need. I think for me it’s attractive.

I think this year what I got from them is there’s a few focus. One focus would be different kind of strategy like what kind media using different strategies. And the other one is about the electronic border, sort of national border in electronic space and if there is a border kind of things. And trying to bring in different groups from different countries to come together. So mostly I think its’ the idea of using different media.

Where your interest on internet or technology to incorporate with your work came from?

Actually everything I did have been self-learning. I am also really bad at reading instruction books (Laugh). I have no patience to read instruction books. So almost I need to do like out of necessity. May be even like simple Photoshop, may be I learn how to use basics, but if you want me to do anything crazy I can’t do it. You know that kind of things.

So same thing with when I have to use sensors in an installation, I study a little bit. But the matter is that I think there is a very specialized, as far as like the way technology has been developed now, everything is very specialized. People do java programming and then they are like “we can only do java programming”. So everything become very specialized. If you talk about sensor, certain people do sensor. I think as an artists working with those kind of technology, for me at this point I really don’t have time to learn everything.

But at least what I would learn is to learn to speak the language to communicate. So I understand what sensors can do. But at the same time you can say “Ok if you can do this, can you do this?” You know because I think artists have the imagination to push the technology. So I think most of the time a lot of people who does chemical stuff and engineer stuff, they know everything.

But in the collaboration with artists usually they can push around with the challenge. It’s a beautiful collaboration. I always feel good about these kind of collaboration, because you are actually helping each other to push forward.

Working with many people together is like engine. What’s your next projects?

Brandon is still happening until 1999. And may be in the year of 2000 I will do some projects in internet. I am also very interested in designing a sort of electronic space, involving sort of real space, public space, that kind of idea.

So I would probably work on the idea. I do have a couple of projects the year of 2000. But right now I would be very happy to just for next year (1999) to finish Brandon and to finish the film and the next for the year 2000. Actually I have a lot of film scripts I’m writing for year 2000 and also set in Tokyo.

Do you know where you are going to be after Tokyo?

Probably I am going back to Amsterdam to finish Brandon. Probably between Amsterdam and New York.

Text: Mariko Takei

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