Now that the conference for international business bigwigs known as the World Economic Forum (WEF) is over in New York (it ended earlier this week), one can only wonder if the online performance of sorts, "NETSTRIKE against the World Economic Fools" succeeded. Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT), along with other online activist groups, encouraged the masses to download software tools to reload the WEF site, theoretically to disable it. The WEF home page did go down. EDT founder Ricardo Dominguez denied responsibility in an interview on Wired News, but has lately posted a message including the statement "the WEF site is DOWN!WEEEEEEEEE" on listservs. A brilliant grassroots campaign? Or simply a glitch on the WEF's part? You decide.
Is the Internet a spiritually devoid place? Look at this month's latest offering on the Whitney Museum of American Art's Artport home page, "Prototype #38," by c404. This piece attempts to uncover the rise and fall of an invisible spirituality that just might be resonating throughout the online world. How would one measure spirituality anyway? "Prototype 38" actually scans search engine queries for spiritual terms. These found terms are programmed to launch sounds and animations. The result is an impromptu portrait of online spirituality.
The web site "Soundboxes" by Dutch net artist Michiel Knaven, is similar to a series of visual and aural haiku. Site visitors encounter snapshots, some interactive and some not, of images and snippets of noise. "Soundboxes" started as an experiment to find out what would happen if a net artist started with sound instead of image (which is the usual process of creating most net art).
Big thanks to all who have kindly supported the non-profit new media art resource Rhizome.org (the publisher of Net Art News) during its 2001 Community Campaign. The original goal was $20,000, but 389 generous Rhizomers pledged and donated $22,272.63! Their support will maintain current programs (including your daily dose of Net Art News) as the community continues to grow. And now, thanks to the donations, a member directory, an events calendar, opportunity listings, web hosting and online education are on the agenda as new offerings from Rhizome.org.
So you thought Wyoming was just for cowboys...but how about new media artists? If you're in Jackson Hole any time before March 1, check out "New Frontiers: an Exhibit of Technology -based Art" at the Art Association. The names are big: Gary Hill, John Klima, Lew Baldwin, Paul Kaiser and Scott Snibbe. Works include Lew Baldwin's internet piece, "Heroes and Villains" and the installations "Wall Piece" by Gary Hill, "Go" by John Klima (whose work is pictured), "Visionary of Theater" by Paul Kaiser and three of Scott Snibbe's software art pieces including "Gravilux." Where to go: 260 W. Pearl Street. Call 307-733-6379 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, as the gallery's Web site isn't currently ready for viewing.
Today and tomorrow, at UCLA, a major conference on new media will take place. Entitled "Digital Utopia/Digital Distopia" Drop by at Royce Hall, Room 314. The main names on the roster: Scott McCloud, author of "Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics"; Steve Kurtz, member of Critical Art Ensemble; and Lev Manovich, UCSD digital art professor and author of "The Language of New Media." As the organizers say, "This conference aims to examine a variety of aesthetic, political, and pragmatic effects of digital technology on the status of the artistic object."
The duo of Corby and Baily say that their net art work "Reconnoitre" deals with our experience of the network as a bizarre_scape. They call the online world "an environment with a high metabolism whose boundaries are continuously re-shaped; accreting and thickening under the influence of powerful social and commercial forces." Their piece "Reconnoitre" is a browser of sorts, which of course allows users to find sites online, however, it isn't tooled to necessarily make sense, at least in an orderly, linear manner. Instead, the artists hope to present the act of browsing as a behavioural activity. Like many works of net art before it, "Recoinnotre" is another in a long line of dysfunctional browsers that turn web surfing into a fresh, surprising, even poetic experience.
Get ready, get set, go...to Berlin. Next week, the international media art festival known as transmediale will take place for the 15th time from February 5th to the 10th. The good stuff offered up includes interactive installations, a media lounge with internet and screen-based works, a conference devoted to changes in the public sphere in the digital era, workshops on collaborative and free software projects, screenings with the latest works of video art, and of course more. This year's theme is a bit outdated: it's "go public!" as in an IPO, but you can interpret it as "be open with your great ideas!" Be sure to log onto the festival's web site if you can't hop on a plane or train to Germany...'cause you can vote for the best art on view at transmediale from afar.