24 February 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
Darklight Perspectives Main Speakers' Confirmed
15 Oct 2001 :
The main speakers at the Darklight Perspectives Conference (Nov 17) include Mike Figgis, Lawrence Lessig and Joshua Davis and Ian Clarke.

Mike Figgis
Mike Figgis (Writer/Director/Composer) has roots in experimental theatre and music, just two primary influences that contribute to the creative vision in all of his films and documentaries.

Figgis has emerged as a visionary filmmaker who thrives on taking artistic risks. Although he has been at the helm of such mainstream movies as Internal Affairs, the British born filmmaker has also exhibited his more eclectic personal style.

Figgis studied music for three years and played with The People Band. The Rolling Stones Drummer Charlie Watts produced their album. He also taught Brian Ferry piano. In the early 1970s, Figgis joined England¹s foremost avant-garde theatre group, The People Show, as a musician and performer and toured the world with great success for ten years.

In 1980, he formed The Mike Figgis Group, and began creating multi-media productions that made extensive use of film. The awards won by many of his earliest projects, including Redhugh 1980, Slow Fade, and Animals of the City, caught the eye of Channel 4, who financed his first film, The House, starring Stephen Rea. His debut feature was Stormy Monday. He wrote, directed, and scored the movie set in Newcastle¹s steamy jazz club world with Melanie Griffith, Tommy Lee Jones and Sting.

He burst into Hollywood by directing and co-scoring Internal Affairs, starring Richard Gere and Andy Garcia. Figgis followed by writing, directing and scoring the thriller, Liebestraum, with Kim Novak (whom he lured from retirement) and by directing Richard Gere and Lena Olin in Mr Jones. Albert Finney and Greta Scacchi starred in The Browning Version. He also wrote and directed Mara, with Juliette Binoche and Scott Glenn. In 1996 Figgis achieved international critical acclaim for Leaving Las Vegas, with Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue, which he wrote, directed and scored. The film was nominated for four Oscars, and Cage won Best Actor. The same year Figgis wrote, directed and scored One Night Stand with Wesley Snipes, Nastassja Kinski and Robert Downey Jnr. He also made documentaries on Vivienne Westwood, William Forsythe and Flamenco Women, which was shot in Madrid for C4. His next feature, The Loss of Sexual Innocence, with Julian Sands, and Saffron Burrows, premiered at Sundance in 1999.

Figgis¹ interviews with, among others, Tony Kaye, Mel Gibson, Michael de Luca and Brooke Shields were published (Projections 10) and screened by Channel 4 (Hollywood Conversations).

Recent features include Miss Julie, based on August Strindberg¹s play, starring Saffron Burrows and Peter Mullan, and Timecode 2000, the groundbreaking film shot in real time on four digital cameras and released to considerable critical acclaim.

Figgis has just returned from Venice where he shot his latest film Hotel. The film, like Timecode, boasts an incredible cast and continues to push the boundaries of digital filmmaking still further.

2001 Hotel
1999 Timecode 2000
1999 Miss Julie
1999 The Loss of Sexual Innocence
1997 Flamenco Women
1997 One Night Stand
1995 Just Dancing Around
1995 Leaving Las Vegas
1994 Vivienne Westwood: On Liberty
1994 The Browning Version
1992 Mr. Jones
1991 Mara
1990 Liebestraum
1989 Internal Affairs
1987 Stormy Monday
1984 The House

Joshua Davis
Joshua Davis has been called 'the best web designer in the world'

He is one of the first examples of an artist who has adopted the tenets of the open source movement favoured by the software movement. Opensource has revolutionised the way we view ownership of content on the Internet. It allows for the sharing rather than the monopolisation of ideas. Davis' Flash animation design techniques are online and accessible allowing other artists to learn from his efforts and ultimately progress their own ideas.

He runs - http://www.praystation.com/ a one-man research and development web-site. Its objective is 'to apply design and technology into a collection of small, sometimes daily, modules - is incubating a lifestyle, a mentality, living with anomalies (1 : deviation from the common rule : IRREGULARITY; 2 : something different, abnormal, peculiar, or not easily classified), producing work in a world that is under constant flux and change.'

He is also the sole creator of http://www.once-upon-a-forest.com/ - which is the nemesis of what we perceive the web to be. No easy, short domain name. No easy to use navigation. No instructions. No Faq's. No Ads, No Links, No Tech Support. No Help. No Answers.

A good amount of time is spent trying to - Unite : Communicate : Explore - on http://www.dreamless.org/ 'where we cannot continue to grow in the field of design and technology acting independent - We must combine forces, and relinquish our interpretations about what does and doesn't work. Understand that knowing where to buy bricks does not mean you know how to build a house.'

When not working on his five websites, Davis works as senior design technologist at Kioken--the Manhattan web design company that made waves on cnn last spring for "firing" Sony as a client.

Professor Lawrence Lessig
Professor Lawrence Lessig teaches and writes in the areas of constitutional law, contracts, comparative constitutional law, and the law of cyberspace. His book, Code, and Other Laws of Cyberspace, is published by Basic Books. In 1999-2000, he was a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin.

Lawrence Lessig is perhaps the most prominent legal thinker on the intersection of the law and the Internet.

Lessig's scholarship has been the subject of widespread debate, particularly following the release last year of his book Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace. The book explores how the architecture of computer networks affects basic liberties, and the implications of the use of code to either suppress or promote freedom. Mark A. Lemley, a professor at Berkeley's Boalt Hall Law School, said Code ". . . may be the most important book ever published about the Internet . . ."

Lessig sided with the Net music-swapping service Napster Inc. in its doomed court battle against the record companies, which sued for copyright violations. He backed hackers who posted code on the Web that let people duplicate movie DVDs. The judge heeded him when he supported the US government in its antitrust case against Microsoft Corp.

Lessig argues that legal mistakes, such as overly strong interpretations of intellectual-property law, favor established players at the expense of innovators and upstarts. He wants to restructure intellectual-property rules so that ideas are more quickly released into an intellectual commons where others can improve upon them.

He has been involved in a similar event in Harvard, the &Signal to Noise8 conference which brought the creative community together with the lawyers and policy makers in order to explore the issues related to regulation, ownership and control of online content.

Ian Clarke
Ian Clarke is a 25 year old Kildare born programmer who has been acknowledged as one of the most influential figures involved in the Internet. He has created a program called Freenet.

Freenet was developed in July 1999 while Clarke was a student of artificial intelligence and computer science at the University of Edinburgh. In a paper he wrote for a class, he came up with a design for a distributed file-sharing network, in which all users can be anonymous, or not, according to their choice. He put his idea out on the Internet, and contributors from around the world were allowed to tweak and improve on it. Freenet was finally released on the Internet in March 2000.

Like the name implies, Freenet is all about making, and keeping, information free. It's a distributed file-sharing network, where all users are completely anonymous and there's no central distribution server -- which means no master list of users, no one to sue, and no way to shut it down. The Napster court case immediately brought Clarke's Freenet into the limelight. Here was a system that Internet and more particularly copyright laws could not touch. Clarke has built the seeds of a radically new Internet.

With the implications of Freenet becoming clearer to the digital world, Clarke is now an oft quoted commentator on issues of free speech, piracy, copyright and how creative content should be distributed online.

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