“Just a sec” – an untimely intervention
A one-second festival about art, technology and precarity. The festival was organized using a tool called etherpad  to let participants collaborate and edit the festival with us. In the end we decided to use this pad not only as a working tool but also as the festival website!
In that way the character of the festival was reflected in how it was shown – as an open, collaborative, precarious, ephemeral, virtual (non-)existing event hosted at a moment that might not have been implemented in time. In fact, we have reason to believe the festival didn’t exist .
All the more reason to celebrate that it nevertheless happened!
About the festival
When: Saturday New Year’s Eve Dec 31 2016 23:59:60 and lasts one second until Jan 1 2017 00:00:00 (UTC)
What: During the leap second all the works in the festival are exhibited, executed, performed. This year we’ve emphasized collaborative, experimental, project-based works that in various ways embed the leap second idea and function as leap second events in themselves.
Who: The festival is a distributed, decentralized event coordinated on the net. There are around 140 participants in the festival, including the residency program. The participants lists below is the main programme, with descriptions and links to their works.
Why: Art, new technology and precarity raise some issues which the leap second can exemplify and realize. The leap second adjustment is a consequence of technology, practically immaterial, virtual, untimely – outside of time so to say – awkward, unsuitable and is a glitch or a wobble on global scale in earth’s rotation and in electronic time systems (OSs). In the same way, the festival is scalable from extremely big to extremely small, somehow mirroring the extension of technology. It’s also a metaphor for the precarity caused by technology. And it’s questioning its own existence: A leap second is an extra second between :59 and :00 that is left invisible on our watches and most computer systems. It’s usually faked using one of three glitchy processes – repeat, freeze, smear – to adjust clock-time. And finally. with its awkward, impossible format, the focus of the festival could very well be exactly that: a questioning of art and its appearance, materiality, objecthood, to tie onto traditions of conceptual and postconceptual art, net art, ao. and lead to an exploration of media in search of itself (as an ‘appearing’ form, or questioning its form). A festival or non-event like this could bring these questions to the front as its main character or theme.
The festival is organized by Noemata and BrowserBased Group, with support from Arts Council Norway/visual arts.
1. In line with the obscure existential nature of the festival, it was hosted on the TOR network using the open source tool etherpad for collaboration. http://etherpad.org/
2. Web servers usually don’t implement the :60 leap second, they rather fake it by repeating the :59 twice. See BrowserBased Group’s work for proof that the 2015 festival it participated in didn’t exist: http://noemata.net/leapsec26/doc/61.html