TalkBack! A Forum for Critical Discourse
) announces its first-anniversary
issue: Community/Virtual Community.
Why an issue devoted to community/virtual community? The past
quarter-century has seen the unprecedented degradation of public
institutions and public spaces, accompanied by an assault on the bonds
of family, neighborhood, and civic life. Like so many crises in Real
Life, this crisis in community is mirrored and accentuated online.
Cyber-theorists and pundits prattle about virtual community as if sex
chat rooms or online surveys about Your Favorite Entertainer constitute
community. We don't think so. To debate what genuine community is,
TalkBack! editor Robert Atkins commissioned more than a dozen essayists
to write on the subject. But not just any writers. The majority are
doers and shakers; cyber-activists who've started bulletin boards, ISPs,
or non profit advocacy groups, written about virtual community, or
created an arena in which others can write about or showcase their art.
They include Paul Brenner, AD Coleman, Janine Cirincione, Jordan
Crandall, David Green, Stacy Horn, Kathy Rae Huffman, Curtis Lang, Joe
Matuzak, Howard Rheingold, Staehle/Ehrefried/Erentzen/Dominguez, Mark
Tribe, and Pauline van Mourik Broekman. Their projects--which include
Arts Wire, The Thing, the X-Art Foundation, Echo, RHIZOME INTERNET, the
National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage, and even
commercial ventures such as mute and MSN's art forum--constitute an
important part of the visual art infrastructure online.
Also in this redesigned issue of TalkBack!: A community
artwork--complete with stencil exchange--by Cultural Cryptanalysts
Collective (in the Gallery); writer/artist Jim Gasperini (in The Beef)
defends the CD-ROM medium vis-a-vis online art (Jim will be reviewing
multi-media regularly for TalkBack!); Dyke Action Machine struts their
stuff (in The Buzz); Joseph Nechvatal reports from Paris (Scene &
Heard); and, from San Francisco (Scene & Heard), excerpted transcripts
from two panels about online art and writing held this past summer at
the SF Art Institute and featuring Lowell Darling, Sharon Grace, Perry
Hoberman, Keith Manson, Margaret Morse, Mark Pesce, and Jane Veeder.