Fans of pioneering net artist Mark Amerika will be psyched to hear that his work "Filmtext" is now on view at the Centre for Contemporary Photography in Melbourne, Australia. "Filmtext" is the third installation in Amerika's trilogy, which includes 1997's "Grammatron" and 1999's "Phone:e:me." This multimedia piece is considered a work in progress and offers visitors everything from an mp3 concept album to an art e-book that can be downloaded. "Filmtext" centers loosely around a "writer/artist" who is putting information and images, culled from locations such as Japan and Hawaii, together as he assembles a new work.
As of Saturday, eight artists have decided (as coached by project organizer Michael Mandiberg, the net artist) to trade lives for a week and a half, guided by instructions on how to be someone else. The eight, who reside in either Toronto or LA -- two cities that are important backdrops for Hollywood role-playing, no less -- are Heather Cassils, Lauren Hartman, Sara Jordeno, Curt Lemeiux, Michael Mandiberg, Melanie Nakaue, Amy Satterthwaite, and Haruko Tanaka. They'll swap everything, from friends to refrigerator contents. Read all about their adventures at ExchangeProgram.org (a DVD featuring the online diaries will be released in July).
Jeannie Finlay's site "Home Maker," created this year, takes online visitors into the homes of four housebound older people, aged between 64-100 years, in South Derbyshire, UK. The artist spent hours getting to know them and transformed video portraits of her subjects and their domestic environments into an online environment that site visitors can explore. Personal narratives and histories unfold as users discover embedded short video documentaries in the environments. Finley had used Quick Time VR in commercial work before working on this project, and decided to apply it as a tool for creating dynamic portraits. The result is a moving tour of the lives of four regular elderly people, as rich as a long visit to one of their homes.
Just launched in Toronto this week, "Dataland" is an online exhibition that features five commissioned sites. Each deals with basic human concerns: for example, "Album," by Lisa Vinebaum, presents nostalgic familial memories; "An Ideal Man" by Marc Bohlen and Natalie Tan investigates the building of a perfect male specimen. Sponsored by The Canada Council,InterAccess, Charles Street Video, and The Images Festival, "Dataland" is a good venue for showcasing fresh new Canadian net art.
French video and net artist Renald Drouhin created the web site "action attack" only a few weeks ago, and it is a timely collage as many political hot spots around the world are in a state of chaos. The site, which features web cam images from around the globe, reminds us of the dangers of contemporary life, from the loss of privacy to terrorism, which threaten us increasingly on a daily basis. You may recognize Drouhin's name: his art has been shown at the Biennale de Montreal and at the festival Champ Libre manifestation internationale video et art electronique in 1999, as well as at the Web Art Festival
Throughout art history, theorists and artists have developed ideas about the power of color. Why not net artists too? Following in the tradition of the likes of painter Joseph Albers, New York-based video artist Owen Plotkin has developed what he calls "colorbots," which are ever-changing, streamlined online experiments. OK, maybe you'll say, these forms look merely like bands and blocks of color...where are the jazzy effects and subversive political content? Actually, Plotkin's work follows more along the lines of some of modern art's more famous names: Piet Mondrian, Mark Rothko, Dan Flavin and even Marcel Duchamp and John Cage. Check out the colorbots, do a little bit of art history homework, and enjoy.