Tin Can Telecommunications on Bumpkin!

Art Encampment on Bumpkin Island
Saturday, August 30 through Monday, September 1, 2008
Bumpkin Island Artist Encampment highlights the Boston Harbor Islands national park area
as a venue for creating and exhibiting art

BOSTON, MA – The Berwick Research Institute and Studio Soto, in partnership with the Boston Harbor Island Alliance and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), invites the public, free of charge, to view and participate in a unique art experience in the Boston Harbor Islands national park area. Starting Thursday, August 28, 2008 (Labor Day weekend), ten artist teams will create installations, performances and sculptures on Bumpkin Island, engaging the public as performer, apprentice, collaborator and honored guest.

Artists participating in this unique temporary community in Boston’s largest national park area will utilize the basic tools and supplies that they can physically carry on to the island, including everything needed to sleep, eat and drink. All other materials will come from the resources/elements of the island, leading to projects that will be a distinct expression of the island environment. Following the dictates of the Homestead Act, which became an instrument of western expansion in the mid 1800s, artists will build a shelter, live on the land for five days, and “improve” the land via a site-specific, temporary project, installation or performance. Projects will reflect the island’s natural resources and human history, and explore themes of the cultural context of homesteading and artist community.

The public is invited to experience the results of the encampment from August 30 – September 1. 2008 Bumpkin Island Art Encampment projects and artists are:
Astrodime Transit AuthorityBebe Beard, John Gayle, Ali Horeanopoulos, Mary Ann Kearns and Sam Smiley – ATA will reprise and expand upon its successful 2007 Tin Can Communications Co. strategies and celebrate the 150th year of the first attempt to lay the Transatlantic Cable.
The CamoufleursHanna Rose Shell and Dan Hisel – Drawing on artisanal weaving techniques, military concealment strategies, and bird nesting practices, the camoufleurs will transform their land, and its particular human and natural ecology, into a camouflaged homestead environment. Then creating mixed-media concealment cloaks, they will navigate the island, seen and unseen.
Leave one for your ancestors, one for your children, and take oneTiffany Dumont, Else Eaton, Raymond Garrett, Rory Jackson – Artists forage island materials to create three interactive, multimedia installations based on past, present and future. Artists will encourage visitors to add to the pieces, forage responsibly, and participate in performance.
New England Expeditionary AllianceDedalus Wainwright, Bryan Long, Michael Andelman and Jeff Cleary – A scientific mission that will map Bumpkin’s metaphorical, literal, and sensual parameters, Alliance members will lead expeditions, generate hypotheses, establish a classification system, create analysis, and give lectures on their findings.
Shore Wind Organ Jason Sanford – Using handmade wooden organ pipes and whistles, the artist will create a responsive musical instrument activated by island winds and visitor interaction.
The Honorable Bumpkin Island CompanyJack McGrath & Jane Van Cleef – Armed with a charter granting them the right to establish a trading post on Bumpkin, HBIC will purvey vital, excellent goods to homesteaders and visitors, bolstering the new island economy and exploring the practice of shopping.
Survival KitGabe Moylan & Rachel Roberts – Using the Federal Emergency Management Association survival kit provided to disaster victims, artists will supplement food rations with wild edibles, create a shelter, and explore spiritual recovery.
Spirits in the House: Then & NowSharon Haggins Dunn – Using natural materials such as sand and mud, the artist will create a pinhole camera. Captured images will illustrate change and continuity of natural and human forces over time.
Stone House, Urban CityWenxiong Lin, Lynn Lee, Jens Stenger, Annie Wilker – Juxtaposing two themes of time (history and modernity; reality and romanticism), the artists will create a model urban city in the stone farmhouse ruins, and frame windows of the naval mess hall ruins with brightly colored curtains.
Tactilist TheatreErik Conrad – Arranging island objects arranged according to tactile values and narratives, this participatory installation/performance concludes with a magical ribbon that visitors manipulate to activate small fans, sounds and rhythms that will change based on those present.
The 2008 Bumpkin Island Art Encampment is presented by the Boston Harbor Island Alliance, a non-profit in support of the Boston Harbor Islands; the Special Projects Incubator of the Berwick Research Institute, a non-profit which provides alternative programming and exhibition space for artists who work outside the commercial world and is funded by the LEF foundation; and Studio Soto, an artist-run performance/screening/exhibit space for ideas in Fort Point; and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Getting to Bumpkin Island and back:
From Boston Long Wharf (next to the Marriott, adjacent to Christopher Columbus Park)

· Take ferry to George’s Island and transfer to the Southern Loop Inter-Island shuttle

· Departs Long Wharf every hour, on the hour, starting at 9:00 am.

· Inter-Island Shuttle from George’s to Bumpkin departs 10:30, 1:10 – overnight campers may take the 3:50 boat.

· Inter-Island Shuttle from Bumpkin to Georges departs 12:15, 1:45, 2:55, 4:25, 5:35

· Return boats from George’s Island to Long Wharf leave every hour on the half hour, last boat is at 5:30

From Quincy, Fore River Shipyard

· Take ferry to George’s Island and transfer to the Southern Loop Inter-Island shuttle

· Departs Quincy Monday – Friday 9:10, 11:15, overnight campers may take the 1:10 or 1:45 boats; Saturday – Sunday 9:20, 9:50, 11:00, 11:30, overnight campers may take the 1:20, 2:05, or 3:15 boats.

· Inter-Island Shuttle from George’s to Bumpkin departs 10:30, 1:10 – overnight campers may take the 3:50 boat.

· Inter-Island Shuttle from Bumpkin to Georges departs 12:15, 2:55, 4:25, 5:35

· Return boats from George’s Island to Quincy depart Monday – Friday 9:35, 11:40, 2:20 or 2:55; Saturday – Sunday 9:45, 10:15, 11:25, 12:55, 2:45, 3:25, 4:40, 5:15, 6:10

From Hingham Shipyard

· Boat goes directly to Bumpkin

· Departures at 9:00am, 11:40am, 2:20pm, overnight campers may take the 5:00pm boat

· Return boats are at 11:05am, 1:45pm or 4:25pm

From Hull, Pemberton Point

· Boat goes directly to Bumpkin

· Departures at 9:55am, 12:35am, overnight campers may take the 4:05pm boat

· Return boats are at 12:15am or 2:55pm

Admission to the park is FREE. Ferry fares: Adult $14.00, Senior (65+) $10.00, Children (3-11) $8.00, Children under 3 free, Family 4-Pack $42.00. Inter-Island Shuttle is $3.00. For more information and for ferry schedules see www.harborexpress.com.

4S EASST conference day 5

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Today the bulk of what I did was attend a great workshop and discussion about what STS does in countries (in this panel designated) to the South. I didn’t know what that meant, but suffice it to say, STS was really starting to look at issues of language, colonialism, and power in STS.

In order to really participate, I had to miss most of a panel called Queer Performances, Gay Desires: Acting with Internet Sexualities I saw Michele White’s paper on Male Panics and the Queering of Penis Enlargment and Erectile Disfunction Emails which was awesome and interesting, but given my interest in Latin American STS, post colonial applications of STS, I jumped on board the second session roundtable again for STS moves to the South.  


I saw two folks from the Latin American panel in one of the work groups, and so I joined that group-they were working on a “map” of STS future directions with regard to the “south”. When I got there, people had a large piece of white paper, a blue marker with one blue line drawn down the center. Christina invited me in and I brought out my markers, stressing that I am a media artist and thus can’t draw, or at least represent (true).I think people were waiting for me to draw their ideas, but it was sort of out of my scope.  We decided to make the map 3 D and then Arthur(?) who i had met from the earlier panel suggested we crumple the paper up.

That made a topo map which was a great idea, and I drew the peaks of the mountains. then i asked people to name words so I could draw them on the mountains. we came as a group to the idea that language is a major factor in moving “to the south”. one gentleman from Japan also asked about east and west, and so we put Japan in one of the mountains on his request. people added their own words so i was free from representing.

Arthur thought we should include the pens and paper bits as part of the “materials”. when we got there, the organizer was taping the charts up. she was about to flatten and tape our map, but then it wouldn’t have been 3-d. so i put it on a stool (sigh. pedestal). and it sat there through 2 discussions until someone knocked it down. I tried to put it back on the stool, but the stool was needed for the next person’ prop. Arthur had suggested we put it in the tree, which in retrospect was a great idea because it wouldn’t disrupt everybody else’s performance space. we did that later and it looked much better..a decent representation of our discussion. I’ll try to get pix!, words do not describe the situation.

I left before the last session, stopped at the wonderful market and got salmon and strawberries, and I proceeded to the Kunsthall. The show was OK I liked the Chinese posters, although..was intriguing. I returned the bike, got my suitcase, and headed to Eindhovan to visit my supercool friend Carmen.


going to Eindhovan

going to Eindhovan



my adventures! well worth it all.

-sam smiley

4S, EASST conference Day 4

Friday, August 22, 2008

Today I wasn’t feeling well at all..so I decided to rent a bike :-). That got my nervous energy out from the conference. I didn’t think I would be able to sit thru the first panel because my presentation was after that, but it was called Feminist Technology Studies: New Directions and it was great. Wendy Faulkner and Ulf Mellstrom chaired. I missed the first presentation entitled “Should we forget gender?”, so everyone was all steamed up by the time I got in.

Mostly women were there and some men as audience members. Conversely the panel was mostly men (I don’t know if the first panelist was male or female). So the structure of this asked: can men (having, perhaps not currently being in the body of a female) reflect accurately on the female experience of science and technology.

Wendy Faulker presented her work on how women engineers are visible as women first, then engineers. I think she should have situated this gender analysis in western culture (I do think her analysis is accurate IF it is positioned in that way.)

Pablo Schyfter presented on men and women motorcyclists in Costa Rica. He used a combination of Judith Butler and Wiebe Bjiker as theorists which I thought was interesting. I think his talk was more interesting than the title of his talk..Queering the artifact Subject, Object, and Heteronormaty. I believe Dag Balkmar also invoked Butler on his talk on Swedish drag racing. I did enjoy his talk. I love Butler’s work, and think that a theory of performity is good for STS.

In general I think to really rock the boat, a discussion of the place of trans women in feminism and STS is also effective in unseating biological ideas of feminism. Where was that in this session? Surely there have been some trans women who have contributed to science, and technology. Could that be a new direction?

The person who really did the “new directions” work of this panel for me the best was Ulf Mellstrom’s presentation: The Intersection of GEnder, Race, and Cultural Boundaries, or Why is Computer Science in Malaysia Dominated by women? I thought this was amazing because it totally unseated western enculturated ideas around female identity. I think this is the work that needs to be done in STS, because it broached the real issue in feminist studies, which is why has feminism been dominated by white women?

I presented on behalf of AstroDime at the next panel..it was fun and informative, we averted disaster when we didn’t have any computer to show astrodime’s video, and everyone else’s powerpoints, but my little EEEPC came to the rescue..it worked ok, and the panel went on without a hitch. some questions in my mind afterwords..although the tin can telecommunications has come out of STS theories such as SCOT, how do I position it to STS scholars who are primarly writers and not performance artists?

Next panel I went to was Public Understanding of Science in Europe and the USA. Pretty broad topic (perhaps to make it more comparative, less general if it has that title? and have discussion?) David Long’s paper Scientists Acting against the Creation Museum was very interesting and nuanced. The Creation Museum is a truly well funded museum in Kentucky started by Ken Han who was originally from Australia that argues against evolution, and for intelligent design. David Long’s analysis was of this protest led by scientists against the museum. He looked at both the scientists and the success of the museum which draws thousands a day. His most interesting point was that this project is “Modernizing the pre-moderns..but scientists view it as corrupted modernism” (approximate quote). All in all, really interesting.

Cathy Sullivan presented on evaluating a STEM program (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics” in the early school grades. i think STEM could be a really good connection with and to STS, but the STS academic community isn’t really aware of it as a movement in gradeschool, I think. Her presentation was interesting to me because i was familiar with it, but i think there were people there who didn’t know what it was.

I went to the plenary later on but to be honest i was so fried, i dont’ think i took anything from it except Nelly Oudshoorn’s idea that STS should look at non-users of a specific technology as well as users otherwise the data is incomplete.

The day ended at a great bar called the Locus pub (www.locus-publicus.com) and then dinner with Wendy at Bazaar, a restaurant with really good Moroccan and North African food.

4s, EASST conference Day 3

Thursday, August 21, 2008

1st panel I went to,was called Future Science, Present Fiction.

went to some great panels today. nanotechnology is a
big topic ofdiscussion.
a recommended fiction book on it is by
Michael Cricton called Swarm. Marc
Audetat had some great resources, including
CIPAST, Citizen Participation in
Science and Techology.http://www.cipast.org/
and also a site for Nanotechnology
and society http://www.unil.ch/nanopublic.
Mark Erickson mentioned this very odd
game for introducing nanotechnology to kids called Nanomission.

 went to a panel called The Mouse in Biomedical Reseearch,
there is this huge mouse selling web
site called The Jackson Laboratory where they sell
Jax (TM) transgenic mice.
they supply 2.4 million mice to researchers a year. It's
a weird study of marketing and science.
Both Monika Cwiarka  and Gail
Davies referred to it.
also the Mouse Genome project was mentioned,
can't right now remember by whom.

after lunch i went to a panel called 
Locations, Latin America. basically
some amazing discussions of completly
different STS projects in different
parts of Latin America.
 Julia Rodriguez  has just finished a
database of latin
american science..it's at www.hoslac.org.
Great resource on Latin American science and good images.
lots of other intersting
things too..did you know that
scientific research on cassava and beans
 as food crops are much less studied in
science than corn or rice. This was in a presentation
by Christina Holmes.
Two more talks on Amniocentesis in Columbia
by Maria Fernanda Olarte Sierra, and the
history of a state supported truck
factory called FNM in Brazil presented by
Ivan da Costa Marques.

at the end of the panel, the chairs
invited us all to drinks later
on. i was delighted because I had
decided after this panel to really
begin work on one of our INtransit
issues called Scientific American
and was looking forward to good conversations.

after this panel, there was Dutch Treats
time which i missed
because i was talking to someone, and
then i went back to
the hostel because i was fried and
figured i wanted to be up later
the night. when i got there,
i had been evicted from my bed!
a girl was snoring in my bunk..
deciding that i could be a nomad
i moved down the hall where i met more STS conference folks.

I rented a bike and met the folks
from the Latin American panel
at Big Ben's a weird dutch pub which
supposedly is modeled
on an english pub, but
fortunately stuck to dutch food and drinks.
that was fun! then i went on my bike
to an art event at
V2: The Institute for Unstable Media.
The event was called Hydrous,
and more work from the artists
can be found at http://diffusion.org.uk/

-sam smiley

4s, EASST conference shakedown: Day 2

Day 2 Rotterdam August 20, 2008

I had opted to  go on a
“field trip” with Wiebe E. Bijker and a busload
of STS'ers. Bijkerwrote a book called
Of Bicycles, Bakelte, and Bulbs, the first and
section of which I really enjoyed..especially
the chapter about the history of the bicyle.
He uses a theory called S.C.O.T., meaning
Social Construction of Technological objects.
Basically it uses an STS concept called symmetry,
meaning both people and objects are
equal actors in histories. and that objects are
socially constructed
and are the result of a lot of social interaction.
sounds obvious,right?
well when was the last time you wondered
who soldered the
components into your dvd player?
(uh, i do it all the time. joke)

the beach around the Delta Dam

the beach around the Delta Dam

Anyway,The Netherlands are a place where water plays a large part in the lives, and history of engineering of the country. We visited a dam project called the Delta Project, which was conceived of after floods in the 1950s and executed during the 1980's. The dams are normally open to accomodate the tides, but close when the water level reaches a certain point.
Wiebe Bijker giving us a tour inside the dam

Wiebe Bijker giving us a tour inside the dam

Bijker talked about the political and social processes of determining what the water level would be, and showed us the literal line limit that was negotiated by the Dutch parliment, balancing the interests of the ecological interests and the people who don't want to be flooded.
two different lines

two different lines

We also went to a museum and theme park, in which I saw a cool 3d movie that had nothing to do with the project. The conference day ended with an open bar at the city hall, where the mayor of Rotterdam gave us a welcome speech which i thought was cool (both open bar and mayor) The rest of the day ended with a crazy walk to a jazz club that didn't have much happenin with my roomates Vicky and Lindal and a few others. So Vicky, Lindal, and I had dinner at the Cappodocia restaurant..awesome turkish food. -sam smiley

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4s, EASST conference shakedown: Day 1

Day 1 Tuesday August 19 4S/EASST conference in Rotterdam


view from the train

view from the train



I stayed at the STAY-OK youth hostel in Rotterdam, along with a LOT of other STS conference goers. Met my roomates or a few of them anyway..hung out with Vicky and Lindal.

My day ended with a great train trip to Delfthaven where i had a most excellent beer and watched the sun set over the rooftops.


-sam :-)

Bumpkin Encampment Update

Saturday August 9th Reconnaissance for the Re-enactment

Sam, Gina and I (Bebe) travelled to Sunset Point Saturday to look into the logistics for the celebratory Transatlantic Cable re-enactment. We knew that access to the shore would be a key challenge as well as hitting White Head Flat at low tide so we could get a sense of how many victanans across it was.

We arrived at Sunset Point around about 11:30AM having searched online to find out that noon was the low tide mark. We easily found a parking space but getting down to the shore was another matter. After politely asking two residents for access across their lawns we were directed to a small path beside the dory Mary. With Frida in the lead we hopped down to the shale covered low tide mark as discreetly as we could. It was the 11:50AM. We walked a short distanc e northward, rounding The Point bringing Bumpkin in view. Sam clipped on a step counting device and she and I unfurled the victanan. Gina took over the video documentation. Leaping frogging across the spit we counted 27 victanans give or take one or two. It took us twenty minutes to complete the measurement. We were concerned with the incoming tide so did not do more than wave to the six or so Bumpkin-ites watching us from the island.

We were being watched from Sunset too. No sooner had Sam and I made our video reports to Gina than two big-ish black dogs came bounding by. Clearly a sign, Frida wriggled free and was chased around four or so circles…Gina tackled her and we high-tailed it back around the Point. Popping up onto the road we noticed a woman watching us from her  enclosed porch. …lucky for us it was Mary McDonnell, the Mary for whom the dory was christened. Mary warmly greeted us and she and her husband Joe listened eagerly to our plans. We traded stories of Bumpkin. Joe McDonnell is active at the Hull Historical Museum and shared some specific knowledge new to us. For instance the building just north of the Nantasket Carousel were moved there from Bumpkin. He even had a copy of a 1917 photo of the Navy assembled infront of them before they were moved. After conversation and water we left having made some new friends…and permission for President Buchanan to access Sunset Point via their land. Hooray!

There is alot to do for the re-enactment and the Tin Can Communication Company re-establishment between the artist-encampments as well as a presence at the dock!

President Buchanan                   Queen Victoria c 1858