Sometimes it's nice to go back to basics in terms of new media art...the not-so-new can be refreshing. Take a look at "ARTificial ART," by Swiss software developer Kurt Baumann. The site offers simple examples that convey how less-than-complicated algorithms paired with random numbers can result in patterns reminiscent of the best Modern art (think Abstract Expressionism for the digital age). A bit of trivia: earlier versions of ARTificial ART were distributed as shareware over bulletin boards even before the Internet as we know it was born.
Is it possibile to write a history of sorts on contemporary artists working with science and technology? Stephen Wilson, an academic, takes on the formidabile task in his massive new tome, Information Arts (MIT Press). Of course, some areas might seem lacking, such as Wilson's coverage of net art, but the author casts a wide net and makes a case for the importance of creative applications of math, physics, biology, and engineering. Most interesting is a playful quiz that Wilson presents, in which he asks the reader to guess what odd experiments are either art pieces or bizarre lab trials.
The work of net artist and hypertext pioneer Mark Amerika was recently featured in his first European net art retrospective, HOW TO BE AN INTERNET ARTIST. This show and his new work of net art, FILMTEXT (commissioned by Playstation 2), will be presented in a second exhibition at the Institute for Contemporary Arts in London beginning this week (January 9 to be precise) through January 31. But you can get a sneak peak online now, if you'd like (hint: click on the link included here).
Michael Mandiberg Inc. rang in the new year with the completion of its yearlong identity marketplace, Shop Mandiberg -- which sells the belongings of digital artist Michael Mandiberg. A storewide 20% off sale propelled purchases, and Shop Mandiberg sold 101 items. Sadly, Shop Mandiberg is closing for business, but the site remains online as an archive.
Last year, 25 international media artists gathered together at Irbene, Latvia, at the site of an abandoned 32 meter dish antenna once used by the KGB to spy on satellite transmissions between Europe and North America. The artists explored creative interaction with a formerly military device and formulated a communications network. This week, the participating artists are unveiling projects inspired by their experiences in Latvia. Audio, video, web installations and images by Kim Cascone, Locomotive, Mukul, and others will be presented online.
How does a new media author present his work in the flesh? Find out this coming Saturday, at 4pm, when Brian Kim Stefans will read at Double Happiness at 173 Mott Street in Manhattan. Stefans' paper books include "Angry Penguins," "Gulf," and "Free Space Comix," but he is also a recognized digital artist and poet who has experimented with online narratives. (He'll be reading with Joan Retallack, author of the book "How to Do Things With Words.") Admission is $4.
Now's the time to vote for your favorite works of net art...because "net-art01," the fourth annual edition of England's open competition for net artists, has just been kicked off. If you're in Brixton, London, you can check out the nominated works, presented live. There, the entries will be projected onto various suitable surfaces at Bradys pub (at 20 Atlantic Road) from 4.30pm to 6.30pm every evening. Voting ends when the month of January is up, and the first-ever award ceremony is now being planned. Keep checking the "net-art01" site for updates.