Radical media, politics and culture.

Leap Second Festival 2012

Leap Second Festival 2012

Call for entries: Works lasting one second or less. The festival is also
interested in texts and essays.

The festival takes place on the leap second which occurs 30th June
2012 23:59:60 UTC.

Submission at festival website

See full announcement below.

The leap second festival is an open, free, distributed, international,
non-profit festival for art, technology and precarity coordinated on
the Internet. This is the first leap second festival. The festival marks
the leap second as deviation and glitch, a bug in the machinery of time,
and also a reality-check and celebration (glitz) of natural cycles and
physical reality, taking place at the moment when the ideal time we have
on our clocks is synchronized with the real time based on the rotation
of the earth.

The festival is open and free for anyone who wish to participate and
submit work. There are no prizes or fees involved. The festival is
documented afterwards.

The festival is open to all types of artistic expressions. Even though
the festival is coordinated and organized via the net the works
themselves don't have to be based, or available, on the net. The
festival is distributed in the sense that the works take place at a
certain time and not necessarily at a certain place. The website of the
festival will coordinate the works by organizing and listing, hosting,
exhibiting, running, and documenting each according to its needs.

The festival believes one second doesn't have to be an impossible
limitation, but maybe a creative limitation, whether or not the works
are realized as things, events or processes adapted to immediate human
perception, or as programs or code that are executed or exhibited. An
ordinary computer does a couple of billion things in the course of one
second. The leap second itself is defined as 9,192,631,770 cycles of a
cesium-133-atom. In the same way that the festival is partly conceptual
despite the physical base in earth rotation and time, the participating
works might revolve around ideas about time, virtuality, and
physicality, in addition to notions about science, machines, technology
and how they relate to natural and physical cycles. That said, there
might be other aspects involved, each own to his own, for example...

- The "formless"... The rejection of form and content and their
traditional game, in favour of horizontality, pulse, entropy, gestalt,
fleeting, and joke. The form is orderly enough - one second - but the
order is almost in the order of joke, and in the horizontality, pulse
and entropy of time - fleeting, virtual - as if to ask, did it really
happen, or what is it for something to happen, or to be?

- "one-off"... one-shot, a happening that occurs only once and is not
repeated --happening, natural event, occurrence, occurrent - an event
that happens, though with intended irregular repetition, an unstable
jiggle of the ball, keeping one eye on the ball, the blink of an eye.

- Precarity/Selfprecarization (turning on itself)...
“So here we are in the present: at a time when the old ideas and
ideologies of the autonomy and freedom of the individual (especially
the individual as genius artist) plus specific aspects of post-1968
politics have turned into hegemonic neoliberal modes of subjectivation.
Selfprecarization means saying yes to exploiting every aspect of
creativity and of life…

The need to pursue other, less creative, precarious jobs to finance
one’s own cultural production is something one puts up with. This financing of one’s own creative output, enforced and yet opted for at the same time,
constantly supports and reproduces the very conditions in which one
suffers and which one at the same time wants to be part of. It is
perhaps because of this that creative workers, these voluntarily
precarized virtuosos, are subjects so easily exploited; they seem able
to tolerate their living and working conditions with infinite patience
because of the belief in their own freedoms and autonomies, and
because of the fantasies of self-realization. In a neoliberal context,
they are so exploitable that, now, it is no longer just the state that
presents them as role models for new modes of living and working”…
From “Critique of creativity” http://mayflybooks.org/?page_id=74

The leap second. Technology has made the leap second possible/necessary.
The leap second is no natural event as are mid-summer, equinox, etc.,
even if all of them is about an adjustment of a natural cycle. The leap
second doesn't have a cultural history before technology made it
possible to measure the physical rotation of the earth accurately enough
to intervene the ideal atomic time (the second defined by the
cesium-atom). The earth rotation appears to be more variable, and the
length of a day (a physical sun-day, a rotation of the earth around
itself) is slowly increasing over time. In that way the leap second is
introduced for the purpose of synchronizing the ideal time we have on
our clocks with the natural time in the universe.

The leap second festival, in this sense, can be seen as a new way of
celebrating natural cycles, aided by technology, but contrary to the
traditional celebration of eg. winter solstice or equinox, the leap
second is not regular, but more a measure of instability, almost
virtual, and having more character of being a bug in the machinery of
time, a technological glitch one is trying to patch, at the same time
that it is a reality-check and adjustment towards nature and physical
reality. It is also this bug that is being celebrated, of the
technological deviation from the natural cycle, and nature's deviation
from technology, and their realignment in the leap second.

The festival plans at taking place at each leap second in the years to
come. The leap second are irregular and are announced by The
International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) half a
year in advance.

If the international society decides to abolish the leap second in the
future because of problems updating and synchronizing all the world's
computers to real time, the festival plan to continue like other pagan
festivals around seasonal cycles. The next international debate about
the future of the leap second will take place in 2015.

Ordinarily the leap second is added to the universal time, but the
possibility exists that it's subtracted. In that case the festival will
receive works for deletion, and the submitted works disappear when the
festival takes place at the second that is being taken away.