Last night I had a strange dream.
Representatives of the Berlin Cultural Institutions came together to put some
money in a pot and found a NETLAB. After Linz, Vienna, Karlsruhe, Frankfurt,
Cologne, Paris, London and New York already established their new media
institutions, it was time to decide that the traditionally thick Berliner Luft
needed some Parfume of the Digital Future:
"Stop making shit out of gold. We must give place, food, and equipment to a
rising community of traveling net artists. These "digital alchemists," these
"craftswomen of the virtual" – of the "neo-modern" – have dedicated their
forces to the struggle of human-machine communication, the representation of the
Church of Information, all in VRML!"
"Art has always been 'Media Art.' I, the critic, don't recognize any progress in
what they call 'art' on the net. Software, information, algorithms,
de-materialisation… these were already the subjects of art in the 60s and 70s.
They did 'new media art' without the new media. I can't see the good in
emphasizing pop culture, new tools and a regression to the themes of an
"Let's stop making noise about the question of art. It's about the representation
and the organization of power. I, the curator, make decisions about quality,
establish canons, decide careers. I follow the system's rules, reduce the
complexity of the world outside, translate that complexity into a language of
important names. I have much more social intelligence then knowledge about art. I
am a manager. I am a power junkie. I have to fight for the art system to survive
against the dissolving forces of virtualization to inscribe my own name."
"For me the theorist: The 'art world' in its classical role as a system of power
has to compete with the 'sacred spaces' of electric media, which currently seem
better suited to binding and encoding collective imagination and desire. The
institution is not flexible enough to withstand the ongoing shifts in the
organization of power and knowledge. Art is not able to answer the question of
technology. We shouldn't give technology to the technologists. There is no ethics
inherent in the net. All we need is discourse, a specialized, well-financed group
of critics discussing the foundation of future forms of net aesthetics. More
text! Without the concepts all you get is the media-barbarism that McLuhan
"For us, the young hackers, it's clear: There is already a clueless
city-to-city-conspiracy of art-managers. Meanwhile a new generation of net-savvy
cultural producers work in an international gray zone between art, design,
research, theory, programming and hobbyism, applying our enlightened hyper media
mind to the web of social, practical and textual relations. With 'occult' media
like records, fanzines, clubs, CD-ROM's, web pages and streets as our exhibition
space, we trust in the tools we use. Step down on the altered states of Bin hex.
We resist media hierarchy in favor of multiple subjectivities, collaborative
heresy and the expectation of big fun. And watch out for prize-winning Lamer
"The harder the corporate powers try to adopt pop culture, the smarter the
symbolic terrorist becomes. Infecting the dominant imaginary territory with
non-communication, pure pleasure and violence, she creates semiotic insecurity as
a space for potential futures. It's an ongoing fight on a complex territory.
Between the real and imaginary you forget about the tragic of the Virtual."