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A DAY IN A LIFE: Global Bridges

A DAY IN A LIFE builds bridges, highlighting the familiar in the foreign and the foreign in the familiar.

Curation and Coordination:
Horst Konietzny

Further development of a streaming event between nodes of theUpgrade! International network.

The first version was held between Munich, Istanbul, Boston and Oklahoma City as part of the annual Upgrade! International gathering on November 30, 2006.

The project A DAY IN A LIFE locates the global in the local. The peculiarities and characteristics of each location are contrasted with those typical and atypical to other locations, other cities, other countries, coalescing their similarities and differences into a poetic fusion. Enabled by the growing power of the Internet - all locations are networked together via broadband technology.

DIAL was begun as a multimedia bridging of peoples and locations world-wide. Its second version will be specially aimed at the theme of Munich’s 850th birthday: “Building Bridges.” Artists in various places will interpret the theme in cooperative interventions in daily life both in their home locations and on-site in Munich. The 3rd annual gathering of Upgrade! International can help to bring oversees artists to Munich as stopovers on their way to the gathering in Skopje, Mazedonia. The following is a description of the basic concept which should be further developed by the participating artists.


Publicly accessible spaces in participating cities around the world will be connected via Internet for a span of several hours. At any given time, streaming video and audio from at least two participating partner locations can be seen and heard in these spaces, projected next to each other on screens or monitors and audible over speaker systems.

The spaces should be locations that play a role in the typical everyday life of each country – cafes, squares, city streets. These snapshots of daily life from diverse cultural backgrounds are given meaning by the selective eye of the streaming camera, the defining frame of the screen and the juxtaposition with similar but different scenes from another city. Stimulated by the tendency of the viewer to fill a formal frame of reference with meaning – in Marcel Duchamp’s words, "It is the viewers who make the pictures."

Meaning is constructed not only by the formal framing, but also by focusing the action on specific themes. This is done through targeted media interventions and actions that take place at both locations simultaneously and which at pre-arranged times react to a common theme.

The simultaneous artistic interventions bring the snapshots into sharp juxtaposition with each other. The performance creates a medial and performative bridge of prepared performance, chance occurrence and the inevitable intercultural differences between the locations.


The events in each location are structured spatially by the eye of the camera and the image frame, and the chance occurrences are given meaning via medial interventions such as a soundtrack or subtitles. Interactions between the local and the distant participants are particularly interesting and stimulating, as our event last year in Oklahoma City has shown. For instance a simple sandbox of red earth served as the site for a lively exchange for visual and textual feedback as artists in both locations mirrored and developed on each other’s words and images drawn in the sand.

The interventions may make use of various formal methods, but all will deal with the common theme “bridges” and the intervention from each city will illuminate characteristic local references to this theme.

The interventions may be executed using differing formal strategies but will all treat the common theme “bridges.” The interventions from each city will reflect on characteristic local references to this theme.

Examples of possible performances:

All performances should incorporate direct interaction with participants in another location. This can be visual, textual or audio, but the mutual interaction should be directly recognizable to non-participants watching only the screen view showing the two streams.

  • Annotating everyday life: Participants and passers-by write or draw on a glass surface (for instance a café window) while a camera records the scenes of daily life visible through the glass frame.
  • Bridging texts: The streaming camera records text banners as they are unfurled across the two participating locations. In each location only a fragment is visible; the full meaning only becomes clear when the videostreams of the two locations are viewed simultaneously on a screen.
  • Express yourself: Passers-by are requested to jot down personal wishes for changes in the political, economic, private, ecological etc. situation and drop the notes into collection boxes. These texts can be held directly in front of the camera as the streaming image itself, or inserted as “subtitles” into the streaming video of the scene.
  • Do it yourself political protest: Passers-by are requested to demonstrate spontaneously for or against something, or can write their own slogans on placards.
  • Street happenings: Passers-by are handed leaflets requesting them to perform specific actions. Within the anonymous stream of pedestrians new patterns of motions and behavior arise.
  • Multi-local choreography: Dancers are linked to each other with a common time code. The complete choreography is only visible when viewing both videostreams together on the screen.
  • ACCOMPANYING EVENTS For those who are able to come to Munich, we will arrange art talks and if possible workshops and an exhibit in cooperation with institutions in Munich.