Founded in 1997, Sponge (Chris Salter, Laura Farabough and Sha Xin Wei) is a San Francisco-based association of artists and researchers working together to produce hybrid media performances, installations and spaces that question traditional notions of interaction, environments and artworks. The group’s members and collaborators have very diverse backgrounds, coming from such fields as mathematics, electronic music, design, architecture and economics.
Sponge is also particularly interested in human interaction with responsive digital media. Maja Kuzmanovic, of FoAM, co-wrote a paper with Sponge’s Sha Xin Wei titled "Performing Publicly in Responsive Space: Agora, Piazza, Festival and Street. Worlds in Transition" that deals with this problematic:
"Looking at the history of public space, we realize that spectrum of public action is much richer than what we typically see in modern informatic abstractions of the market or the agora. A glance at the history of theater and folk performance reveals many alternative forms of public action that have been swept into the category of play and ignored by (sober) theorists of res publica. We advocate shifting our analytic perspective from representation to performance. By shifting the emphasis from making representations of society to performing socially, we hope to discover ways of designing, building and inhabiting spaces that might afford more supple, life-giving forms of public activity. We advocate shifting technoscientific attention from objects and alphabets to substrate and field. This is analogous to shifting the concern of an urban design commission from the shape of the windows or fixtures on a specific building, to the Earth on which-and the material out of which-citizens build their homes. We shift attention from purely digital representation and simulation to material, embodied experience, augmented by responsive digital media." (1)
Sponge collaborated with FoAM on TGarden
, which was presented at the Ars Electronica Festival
in September 2001.