Interactive Futures – 2007

Interactive Futures 2007 ( November 15 – 17 ) Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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Robert Lawrence

Un Message Evidemment

The film is shot … partially. The film has not been written … at all. The film will be written through mobile phones, voice messages, SMS’s, email, conversations, random overheard snatches of dialogue and other sounds produced by the participants of various festivals, seminars, workshops, or visitors to unmessage.

The initial footage was shot in Paris. More shooting followed in Kuala Lumpur, Tampa, Prague, Vienna, New York, Seoul, Borneo. Shooting will continue. All shots are XCU’s of individuals listening to cell phones. In the background of every shot is a dramatic action. No sound is recorded. Sound will be added in post. The story will be told entirely in the recorded messages that the foreground characters are listening to on their cell phones. These stories will be selected, synthesized and/or adapted from the contributions at the website and other venues.

But there is not one story or even one film. Anyone can download footage from the website and make their own message evidemment. U.M.E. examines and transforms the structure of filmmaking. U.M.E. is not a film but an infinite number of hybrid minimalist/structuralist/whammy-films. I don’t make it. I don’t own it. I am just the instigator of an internet-facilitated film experiment that I hope will carry on just fine without me. Un Message Evidemment is an invitation.

UME is an ongoing evolution of new strategies for filmmaking. I have let the project grow and evolve to fit many different venues. A trailer for the project has been screened at festivals including: Stratford Upon Avon Film Festival; Great Lakes Film Festival; and Beyond Panopticon New Media Fesitival in Bandung, Indonesia. The work-in-progress has been presented in different forms at other venues including University of California Santa Cruz Digital Arts and New Media Colloquium, CA; Carleton College Cinema Studies Department, Northfield, MN; Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Malyasia; the International Digital Media and Arts Annual Conference, San Diego, CA.; and a poster panel at DAW 07 (Digital Arts Week Festival and Symposium, Zurich, Switzerland) this July.


Robert Lawrence is an interdisciplinary artist and filmmaker. He has worked with traditional and experimental narrative in written word and video. For the last 8 years he has expanded his work to creatively engage the unique conceptual opportunities of the Internet, particularly in the manner in which it facilitates his ongoing examination of issues of location, of ‘site’, of physical and cultural ‘position’. He approaches his electronic arts work as “social sculpture” and he is very interested in the ways that digital technologies are reformulating the formerly restrictive rolls of media producer and media consumer.

Recent projects have addressed contemporary issues concerning genetic engineering as well as issues of land use and land ethics. He is currently developing several digital media projects based on research conducted during a 10 month Fulbright Fellowship in South East Asia. This work includes a public art project to be realized on the web and in New York Subways.

The work combines a map of the NYC subway system with a section of a genetic map of human DNA to explore in a public venue the debate of biological vs social determination of human behavior. He is planning to implement this work in Underground public transit systems in several international cities.

Lawrence received his BA and MFA from the University of California at Berkeley and San Diego. His art is exhibited internationally and he has received numerous fellowships and awards including: NEA/Rockefeller Grant for Interdisciplinary Projects, Bush Foundation Artists Fellowship, Mcknight Foundation Fellowship, Jerome Foundation Grants for both Book Arts and for Media Arts Installations, and Film in the Cities Regional Grants for Film/Video. Lawrence is Associate Professor of Art and Director of Electronic Media in the School of Art at the University of South Florida.



Selected media


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