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Conflux Festival, Day 1
Regine Debatty, 14 Sep 07

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A guide to the perfect Ghostbustour and Ellis G. drawing shadows

Christina Ray introduced this edition of the annual festival for psychogeography by reminding that it started in 2003 when a bunch of friends decided to set up an event where they would invite other people to come and explore the city with them. Conflux gathers artists and also people who wouldn't call themselves artists such as architects, activists, researchers, etc. This year there are over 100 artists selected. I'm not going to blog everything, just a few projects i particularly liked.

Here's my pick of the day:

Free103point9/31 Down Radio Theater (Ryan Holsopple, you might remember his Pay Phone Murder Mystery project) presented Supplied by the Public which is currently working as Conflux radio station. The content of the radio station is made of calls from participants of the festival.

The calls (from public phones, cell phones, home phones) are streamed in real time over the Internet. The stream is also broadcast on a low power FM transmitter to the local area of the event for people to listen to via a wireless radio. The calls are archived and will repeat when no active calls are being broadcast. The project is inspired by Max Neuhaus's telephone/radio work, Public Supply (1966).

0aasoped.jpgAt the Luna lounge a space is provided for artists to come and discuss their work, it's rather informal and some of them only come with flyers and a laptop. Kiera Ormut-Fleishman had more! She came with a prototype of Maintenant, a system designed to make us more ecologically aware.

Maintenant revolves around the Social Pedometer/So-Ped, a device which connects to your mp3 player and auditorily alerts you whenever you're passing through a high-air pollution saturated area.

The So-Ped, equipped with a carbon monoxide and methane sensor, is continually searching the air you breathe as you walk around. When a higher level of gases is detected, the sensor sets off the voice chip and alerts you to this. First the alert temporarily cuts off your music then you get a tip that says how to save up energy, for example.

There is only one So-Ped and it is not for sale. However, you can sign up to test the So-Ped when it becomes available in your area, you will then be able to use it for two weeks.

Molly Schwartz was showing her moving After You Leave... website and animations which document the way trees are struggling and often winning the battle in the street against cement, sidewalks, fences, decorative brick borders and buildings.

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Anyone can contribute to Molly's project by submitting their own photo and written observations of the struggle. Besides, a map can be downloaded to guide participants to the key locations of the green battle.

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