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By Rhizome


Vienna-based artist Carlos Katastrofsky examines the politics of Internet-based art production, distribution, and consumption. Katastrofsky considers how dominant practices of the artistic modus vivendi--curating, dealing, showing, and reviewing--function in the virtual realm, where the immaterial has replaced the object. Contrary to other artists, who employ different technologies in order to visually please the user, Katastrofsky's output is informed by the aesthetics of conceptual art, where the idea is emphasized. His works explore characteristic features of the Internet such as software, interfaces, language, and discussion forums- to question the current development of the Web. 'Lastwishes,' commissioned by Lisbon's LX.20, is the latest of Katastrofsky's pieces. It consists of a mailing list that, through the modification of the software 'mailman,' allows only one post per member. As Katastrofsky describes it, 'this list lets you subscribe and receive messages as usual, but you can post only once. After posting you will be immediately unsubscribed. The topics are completely open.' As LX.20's curator Luis Silva comments, 'one can listen but only talk once sending a message thus requires meaningful content; chatting becomes impossible'. As such, it is a poignant critique of the communication process in a media-saturated age. - Miguel Amado

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