Supported by Jerome Foundation
“IN Network” was an extended cell phone life-art performance about distance, communication, intimacy, telepresence, and living together while apart. Faced with the prospect of a long-distance relationship when Michael moved from Los Angeles to New York in August 2004, the two artists got their frequent flyer numbers handy, and switched both of their cell phones to a provider with free “IN Network” service. Michael and Julia started out having regular conversations and sending cameraphone pictures back and forth. However, when they switched to using hands-free microphones they began using their phones differently; they started doing things together at the same time, 3000 miles apart, via cellular connection – driving to/from work, eating dinner, giving lectures to students, going for walks, having cocktails, reading books in silence, falling asleep and waking up.
During the month of March the artists presented this cell-phone life-art performance via a photo moblog and podcasts of their phone conversations. There were also several live audio webcasts of the artists sleeping together on their cellphones. All of their text and picture messages were routed through the “IN Network” website. You could also have installments of the performance sent directly to you via the Podcast.
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MEDIA & ACHIEVEMENTS
by Kevin McGarry
Net Art News, Rhizome.org
From the busy, lonely halls of post-Valentine’s Day winter comes a project about ‘two people in two places living together while apart.’ IN Network is a collaboration between bi-coastal conceptual sweethearts Michael Mandiberg (New York) and Julia Steinmetz (Los Angeles). Presently unable to live in the same city, they opt to occupy the same routines, which they synchronize and electronically relay to each other through sets of camera phones and microphones. Powered by a phone promotion that allows for unlimited airtime between clients who are ‘in network,’ Mandiberg and Steinmetz are in touch 24/7. During the month of March, Turbulence.org will host webcasts, podcasts (audio broadcasts distributed to hardware via software subscription), and a moblog (blog of mobile phone photography) to transmit to an online audience the constant correspondence that describes their fused existence: ‘driving to/from work, eating dinner, giving lectures to students, going for walks, having cocktails, reading books in silence, falling asleep and waking up.’ This sharing of lives, though consisting of the mediatized and mundane, is less entrenched in data and detritus than it is in the lives of, and new possibilities for being, people.