Recently, at a public presentation on Net art the Power Plant, a Toronto-based gallery of contemporary art, a middle-aged man came forward as "Mouchette,"the possibly ficitional nymphet who has revealed her inner thoughts and emotions on an eponymous home page. Initially, to keep the allegedly invented Web identity alive, the artist asked a 12 year old girl to pose as Mouchette; the girl, sick with food poisoning, couldn't attend. So the artist, although he remains anonymous, thus revealed his true self -- to a confused audience unwilling to believe that Mouchette isn't real. Or is she? Judge for yourself.
Net artists, take note: there's an available opening at this month's Rhizome OpenMouse event on Thursday, July 26 -- co-sponsored by Sound Lab/Cultural Alchemy. It's essentially an "open mic" for those creating art using new media. The festivities take place from 8pm-midnight at FUN, 130 Madison Street between Pike & Market, under the Manhattan Bridge overpass. This month's presenting artists include Azhaday Asiadai, the creator of "Four and Six," a Net art piece that mimics "Lite Brite" imagery and allows you to cram your favorite links onto one page without scrolling forever.
July 20 -- yes, that's tomorrow -- is the deadline for submissions for inclusion in Medi@terra 2001, an international art and technology festival that takes place from September 14 - October 15. Besides Net art, CDROMs, video, computer animation, digital sound and music, e-books, and digital photography will be considered. This year's theme is "De-Globalizing/Re-Globalizing" -- appropriate as the festival will roam, touring from Athens to Belgrade to Frankfurt (stopping at a few other European locales along the way).
This year's Webby awards were presented on Wednesday night in front of a sold-out crowd of 3000 at San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House. The winner for the Arts category went to Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries. The competition was stiff: well-known Net artworks "1:1", "Apartment", "Glasbead",and "Potatoland" were the other nominees. Each Webby winner was limited to a five-word acceptance speech. So Young-Hae Chang simply said "the struggle continues," a reference to the Net artist's Web site that bears this phrase as its title.
Martin Wattenberg is one busy Net artist. Not only has he recently launched "The Shape of Song," a site that allows visitors to visualize any musical composition available online, but he's also just started working on a new interface for the future Web site for NASA's artist in residence program. Now he's the first Net artist to be chosen to work with NASA; for 30 years, the government agency has asked cutting edge contemporary artists such as Nam June Paik and the Starn Twins to create original artwork related to space exploration. Wattenberg's new art interface is scheduled to debut in November.
A new resource to help viewers make thematic connections between some of today's most intriguing works of Net art: the recently-launched online exhibitions featured on the home page of Turbulence.org, a new media arts organization. The first show in the series is guest curated by award-winning Net artist David Crawford, who has assembled links to Web sites by game designer John Cabral, the possibly fictional nymphet known as Mouchette, and animated short filmmaker who calls himself Mumbleboy. Crawford has penned an insightful essay explaining how all three Net artists deal with time-based structure and narrative storytelling in their work. Also included in this Web-only exhibition are exclusive interviews with each artist.
Can the roots of today's interactive new media art be traced to the thoughts of 19th century composer Richard Wagner? And did video artist Nam June Pail foresee a new breed of "global information art" back in 1984, long before Net art made its debut? Read the just-released "Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality" (W.W. Norton & Co.) and find out. A Web site (on artmuseum.net) compliments the book.
While most dot-coms are going under left and right, the Alt-X Online Network, one of the first Net art and hypertext fiction sites to launch (way back in 1993), is flourishing. This summer, Alt-X is not only offering new, free ebook titles that can be downloaded from the Web onto one's Palm Pilot, but also is presenting mp3 compilations, Internet art exhibitions, and streaming audio installations online. The first eight ebook titles feature previously unpublished works by not only fiction writers, but Net art stars Mark Amerika and Eugene Thacker as well.
Sound art and the Web often go hand in hand. An ongoing online exhibition called "Crossfade" explores the intersection of both. Sponsored by the world's major supporters of new media art -- the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Goethe-Institut, ZKM (Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany) and the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis) -- "Crossfade" is a series of commissioned "media essays." They can take any form that can possibly be presented online, ranging from hyperlinked text to musical compositions that incorporate the network as an instrument. This month's featured online "media essay" is a sound archive by pioneering musician Stephen Vitiello.
What has experimental Net artist G.H. Hovagimyan been up to lately? Check out "Palm Rants," a series of Web and PDA-based performances. The pieces will be delivered in either a short animation, an audio file, or a text. New performances will be available weekly for four months. Each performance (with titles such as "Love Songs From My Computer") is a meditation on the ways we disperse information in a networked environment.
Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) Technical Coordinator