Radical media, politics and culture.

First Glowlab Newsletter, Summer 2003

Info@glowlab.com writes:

Greetings, fellow psycheogeographers, artists of all stripes, curiosity-seekers, interested bystanders!

Welcome to the first Glowlab newsletter. We'd like to take this opportunity to catch you up on everything that's been going down with us over the summer -- a busy summer, as it turns out (aren't they always?). We bowed to a giant dinosaur, walked with angels, were treated to the unsettling and wondrous sight of a darkened city skyline, and pounded the pavements of Brooklyn seeking hidden vistas.We feel we would be remiss if we didn't start off by acknowleging what was arguably the most provocative event of the summer -- the flash mob.

We covered three of the eight mobs, initially welcoming the phenomenon as a brilliantly orchestrated piece of performance art. Then our enthusiasm began to wane, in direct proportion to the tiresome omnipresence of reporters, all tripping over themselves to capture the trend-of-the-moment. Then we began questioning our own motives -- and indeed, the motives behind the flash mobs themselves. Many were scoffers from the get-go, and a mob backlash began picking up steam. We were lucky to have the New York mob's agent provocateur, Bill, as the guest speaker at September's Glowlounge, where he fielded questions and offered commentary on the mob as art project and social experiment. A full report should be up soon. Look for it at Glowblog

In other News, there was perhaps no more fantastic psychogeographic event than the chaotic weirdness that was Blackout 2003, provoking spontaneous street-parties and flashlit wanderings through a city transformed.

We nosed around a variety of art events and assorted happenings: Dutch artist Karen Lancel's "Agora Phobia", a public "isolation pillar" outfitted with a laptop to encourage dialogue with "someone who lives isolated somewhere else, like: someone living in prison, someone who lives in a cloister, a digipersona, a pilgrim, a 'prisoner of war', somebody dealing with agora phobia"; the Situationist International exhibit in London; Somniscope's psychogeography-inspired visual poetry; the ongoing legacy of Neckface; Dick Higgin's "Child's History of Fluxus"; the Locative Media workshop in Latvia, and of course the sights and sounds to be had in our own little neck of the woods, Brooklyn NYC...

Projects profiled this summer, following on the heels of May's Psy-Geo-Conflux, included LA-based video artist D. Jean Hester's "Notice," a fourteen-channel video installation meditating on urban exteriors/interiors....

Christina and Sharilyn Neidhardt attended new media artists Cynthia Lawson and Eric Forma's 5-hour intensive on interactive tech....

Jake Barton's "City of Memory", an ongoing collaborative mapping project, features a navigation system in which the user begins with a large map of the New York metro area and quickly zooms in and around the five boroughs to encounter stories placed on the map by other users...

Kevin Bray's "Why Cartography is Important" documented his cross-country motorcycle trip in the context of 45-minute phone sessions with his psychoanalyst, exploring "the edges of the PCS system in the United States", and creating an emotional map of remote places along the way.

Neuroscape Journal debuted with an article on Xanadu, Home of the Future, a decaying tourist attraction in Central Florida; Glowlab agent-at-large Felix Q. Varga crashed Deborah Warner's Angel Project and wondered if he should go to confession; we followed the pointing finger and headed down to Chinatown for cmlperformance's Tryst derive and ended up with souvenir Pixie Sticks and a newfound appreciation for mindful quietude.

Note: Neuroscape is actively seeking submissions -- send us your words, thoughts, and pictures in the form of essays, critical or otherwise, random musings, poetry, photography and stories, or any combination thereof. Let us know where you?ve been and what happened while you were there. For submission guidelines, email journal

Sparking conversations, dialogue and the occasional heated debate, Glowlounge, a monthly salon featuring a different artist discussing his/her work, kicked off in May with artist Lee Walton presenting his ideas about Experientialism.
June's Glowlounge featured street artist Swoon discussing her work with The Toyshop Collective and her own beautiful and ephemeral cut-paper pieces gracing buildings throughout Soho, Brooklyn and Berlin.

In July the Providence Initiative for Psychogeographic Studies discussed their public projects. Their Nomadic Cafe, which made an appearance at May's Psy-Geo-Conflux, is a fully operational cafe housed inside two white boxes; the Urban Agriculture Unit , a work in progress, is a working greenhouse constructed from and within a junked trailer.

In August we opted for a derive with Attack the Map's Markus Nystrom, exploring South Williamsburg armed with an 1850 map of Williamsburg (or Williamsburgh, we like to say), some colored pencils, and a few cameras, and discussed our findings afterwards over takeout at Union Pool.

September's Glowlounge, as previously mentioned, featured Flash Mob creator Bill. Enough said on that, for now...

As the summer swelter dissipates into the first stirrings of fall, we?re knee-deep in planning next year's Psy-Geo-Conflux. Our goal is to take it in new directions while remaining true to the mix of elements that helped last year?s go over so well. If you are involved with or know of a project you?d like to see on the roster, please let us know about it.

Glowlab, as always, is a forum for the exchange of ideas, for collaboration and cooperation, for opening ourselves up to new kinds of experience. We'll continue to be a place where you can share with us your insights, analyses, projects, experiments, and daydreams about what life over, under, above and below, around, and within the living city is all about.