Violence Online Festival is a net based New Media art project in form of a festival created, curated and organized in the framework of NewMediaArtProjectNetwork by Agricola de Cologne.
The human character contains both a light and a dark side, good and bad, individually manifested. Deeply rooted is a dark-sided element: Violence. In happy surroundings, it becomes hardly visible and in less happy surroundings - either of a physical, psychological, environmental, ideological, economic or political nature - nearly automatically a kind of survival strategy with all the known consequences we see manifested in conflicts on a small or large scale. Violence is present anywhere, hidden or sleeping, hesitating, waiting or in action, starting from simple mobbing via verbalor physical attacks, the bandwidth has no end.
Nowadays, globalization, social injustice, unemployment, increasing wealth on one side and on the opposite increasing poverty (without mentioning some causes) produce a climate where violence has a fertile soil. From the attack on 9/11 in the USA, people from the Western civilization became painfully aware that security of any kind is a mere illusion; not only the internal, but also the external enemy is present anywhere.
Artists are said to be the consciousness of a nation or society as they reflect the actual state of the psychological and physical environment. When this state is penetrated by violence, nobody is surprised that violence becomes a universal subject for artistic reflection, the difference may only be the view on it and its perception depending on the respective cultural background.
'Art and violence both seem to stem from the abstract: that place beyond logic, the realm of the emotion. When they intersect we are simultaneously repelled and attracted, frightened and excited. Historically this meeting has been wrought with complexity, and as cultural violence in every society increases, we are prevented by paranoia, censorship and ethical demands from asking, and sometimes even posing, some of the most important questions violence and art together and separately produce: how is violence represented, and what or how much of it do we need to resist the cultivation of fear and the encouragement of dependency? Is violence a tool, a process or a result? When are artistic portrayals of violence justifiable? As intellectual exercise, ritual, or spiritual enhancement? For other purposes? Or are they never justifiable? Is violence in art an action, reaction, or reflection? '
How different the results of an artistic reflection can be is shown through the Violence Online Festival, a New Media online exhibition project curated and organized as an individual event by Agricola de Cologne including more than 150 artists from 30 countries presenting their work. It forms a dynamic collaborative art work presenting very individual visions and use of media.
The relevance of violence becomes visible also through the high quality standard of all the included works. Each of them represents another aspect of violence - caught in textual poetry, running as a video or embedded in an interactive environment of a net-based art work.
In reaction to the key role (mass) media plays by displaying and even promoting violence, a new environment (interface) has been created for Violence Online Festival, which houses and hosts the art works within a virtual media company named "Violence Media Incorporated". By dividing the company into different departments (eg. "Violence for Happiness" , "Violence Marketing" or "Violence Broadcasting"), it becomes clear that their meaning has a rather ironic or sarcastic character, which gives the embedded art works a new meaning.
While surfing through this environment, the visitor is forced to ask and give answers, and becomes slowly a part of this network of art through his reflections and changes of perception.
Initiated for "Violens Festival" Tabor (Czech Republic) in August 2002, it is meanwhile further developed as an ongoing art event to be presented in future physical and virtual exhibitions and festivals. For each new event a new project version will be created, updated and changed.
Violence Online Festival is presented in 2002 on:
Violens Festival Tabor (CZ)
A Virtual Memorial - www.a-virtual-memorial.org
Liberarti Festival/Liverpool Biennale (UK)
Computer Space Festival 2002 Sofia (Bulgaria)