Xerox PARC Residency and Collaboration

Xerox Palo [Alto Research Center] Artist in Residence Program
The Xerox Palo Alto Research Center [PARC] awarded Finley+Muse a PARC Artist in Residency [PAIR] in 1995, pairing them with members of their Work Practice & Technology area.  WPT, a small group of anthropologists and computer scientists, Lucy Suchman, Randy Trigg, Jeanette Blomberg, and Susan Newman, studied work and the practices by which workers take up technologies in creative and unpredictable ways.  WPT also used video and interview/observation in their research.  We shared not only technologies but also a concern for the ethical implications of using them to create and distribute images, texts and stories.

When we began our residency we were in-progress on several experimental documentary videotapes: one, Time Bomb, about a young girl's religious conversion, and another entitled Based on a Story, which examines the well-publicized encounter between Lincoln Nebraska's KKK Grand Dragon Larry Trapp and a Jewish Cantor, Michael Weisser.

We came to the PAIR program to explore how recent innovations in digital and internet technologies might effect artists who work in with non-fiction elements.  With WPT we decided that they would use their technologies and expertise to document our activities while we were working at PARC to produce Time Bomb and Based on a Story.  We became the "objects" of their observation, so that we could mutually explore the relationship of video technologies to the documentary artist as both subject and object of the work.

This collaboration resulted in an essay, "O Night Without Objects," by F+M, Suchman, Trigg, Blomberg, and Newman which was published in Art and Innovation: The Xerox Parc Artist-In-Residence Program edited by Craig Harris, 1999.