This article is compiled together for publication in 2014, almost 10 years after the events depicted above.
The 'Aware: Rengo' production process was, at the time 2004-2005, one of the most 'media-rich' projects I had been involved with up until that point, producing several gigabytes of media files, images and video documentation. We produced digital photographs, mobile audio and video-clips produced during the workshop sessions by ourselves as a workshop group. We also created digital photographs documenting our experimental exercises, social contexts of gathering, as well as digital photo and video documentation of what we called the 'Arabianlenkki' renga walk by Markus Ort and Kebede Mergia respectively. We were also using 'Aware' platform to archive our mobile media online, and gather the related meta-data about it on a server. During the ISEA2004 guided-tour presentation itself, more media documentations were made by both our production team, as well as several audience members.
As indicated in the headers, sections of this article were written in 2005 with the aim to re-present what had happened the year before. When writing those reflections I was an employed artist-researcher in Helsinki Institute of Information Technology, as part of a media art and design research programme, based on practice, i.e. that is artistic productions. My collaborators, and co-producer of the project did not have at the time neither the same context of research and writing, nor time and financial support that I had at the time to do so. I was originally motivated by an invitation to submit a text as a chapter-article in a book about mobile audiences. I aimed to share with the reader the complexities in communicating mobile interaction that took place in an ephemeral mediated performance in several different related past events: the initial interaction, and it's re-presentation to a new audience.
Hence, I embarked onwards with writing singularly about the project. In doing so, I had the ambition to share the voices of collaborators, participants and audience member comments from the final guided-tour presentation event, based on documentations and archives that remained afterwards. To assist in recovering the performance and conversation around the topic, I selected samples from the transcribed audio recording of the presentation at ISEA2004. It was not my aim to analyze the spoken interactions, but to present the story of our production process from more than one perspective, and include responding conversations that took place in response to that story. Furthermore, I highlighted some sections of the conversations which relate to renga practice, such as 'micro-interactions', responding to the 'environment', or 'experience'. Like the guided-tour presentation re-presenting mobile media, I wrote to tell about an activity which happened collaboratively, and dispersed in space and time. Admittedly this was a complex weave of situations to explain in writing: To include inspirations, different phases of the production, and different times of reflection, as well as trying to convey the experience of presenting a process which itself was also dispersed in space and time.
However, the surrounding circumstances and context of the work changed, as well as how it was accessible. 'Aware' project collaborators all went on to be involved in other processes and collaborations by Spring 2006. With this development, in April 2007 the 'Aware' platform went offline, going with it dynamic access to the contained media and it's related meta-data, and the 'Aware: Rengo' web-page. Coincidently, the ISEA2004 website went offline eventually around the same time. Reference to past events and related media in the project shifted significantly: Other than anecdote, traces in personal resumes or CVs, or Internet Archive's 'Waybackmachine' search, the project no longer had a public presence or record of taking place. What remained was a relatively large offline archive of production files and notes, email correspondence, media documentation from the workshop, 'Arabianlenkki' renga walk, ISEA2004 guided-tour presentation event, production files, in folders on personal laptop folders, and on server database backup disks. Ironically for all the effort involved in sending them to an online database, the only 'Arabianlenkki' renga walk video-clips which were recognisable as being 'linked-verse', or associated in relation to each other, were those listed in my notebook [Figure 24], or those highlighted to be presented in the ISEA2004 guided-tour, and shared here.
The 'Aware: Rengo' project, and the writing created in 2005 aimed to question can one invite a reader or audience into a relationship with a highly contextual, mobile media performance event, which happened in the recent contemporary past. The new re-presentation of 2014 involved returning and searching through the archive folder, seeking digital photographs to align and augment the text. It fulfills a stored potential to illustrate the project, placing the video-clip media again in association to the images of their origin. To reconnect and link together experience again. I reveal the narrative 'Aware: Rengo' ten years later, as an experimental media archaeology of the early mobile media age. I learned in the process that mobile interaction and experience, as well as the artefacts that it creates—in our case mobile video-clips and accompanying meta-data—is difficult to share later, and increasing more difficult to share as time goes on. I share this insight now with a new remote online audience, one which is very likely familiar with linking and sharing media in their everyday mobile and internet practice. Early mobile media interactions such as ours were experiments, but also recognisable steps in personal understandings and professional development. Will the interactions or the contents still be valuable to oneself or others? How much will remain as accessible in 1 year, 10 years or more? I can answer certainly to the first question, but am uneasy about how to answer for the later question.