In 1997, internet art hall-of-famer Olia Lialina made a "net drama" called Agatha Appears that was written for Netscape 3 and 4 in HTML 3.2. One of the main features of the interactive narrative was the travel of the eponymous avatar across the internet. Let's just say the girl got around. But the magical illusion of the piece was that she appeared to stay still, even when links in the narrative were clicked and the viewer's address bar indicated movement to another server. But in time, both the browser and code in which the story was written became defunct and the piece unraveled as the sites previously hosting the links and files upon which Agatha was dependent disappeared or cleaned house. Such a scenario is common to early internet art (and will no doubt continue to plague the field), as ours is an upgrade culture constantly driving towards new tools, platforms, and codes. Many have debated whether to let older works whither or how it might be possible to update these works, making them compatible with new systems. For those who are interested, some of the best research on the subject has been performed by the folks affiliated with the Variable Media Initiative. Meanwhile, luddites and neophiles alike are now in luck because Agatha Appears has just undergone rejuvenation. Ela Wysocka, a restorer working at Budapest's Center for Culture & Communication Foundation has worked to overcome the sound problems, code incompatibilities, and file corruption and disappearance issues, and she's written a fascinating report about the process, here. And new collaborating hosts have jumped in line to bring the piece back to life, so that like a black and white boyfriend coming home from war, Agatha now offers us a shiny new webring as a token of ...
Let's admit it. Many of us have done it. You simply lift the lid on the photocopier, press your face (or other body part) against the glass, and hit "print." Sonia Sheridan has made an art out of this form of self-portraiture. The phenomenon of artists using the oft-overlooked tools around them is one with a long tradition. Think of Lillian Schwartz and the computers that surrounded her at Bell Labs, or Sadie Benning and the toy camera her father, James Benning, gave her. The list is long. And there's something about the convergence of play and experimentation that has made work like this a locus for forwarding new media. In Sheridan's case, it's partly a result of a deep attunement to the relationship between industrial methods and creative drives that has persisted for over sixty years. She was the beneficiary of a 3M residency program which allowed her to make work with equipment like their Thermo-Fax and Color-in-Color machines. In the legendary Jack Burnham-curated exhibition, "Software" (Jewish Museum, 1969), Sheridan allowed viewers to play with these machines, as well. The resultant work enabled her to comment on the compression of time in the conception-to-realization process, positioning her as an early theorist of "real time" art-making and communication. Meanwhile, her art projects helped establish the aesthetics of electronic graphics, while simultaneously pushing the formal boundaries (light, line, color) of seemingly simple systems and drawing these experiments into more and more complex generative systems. Like many artists of her generation opening up new tools, the body became a common site of investigation, and the images she continues to make reflect the metamorphosis of the body in relationship to machines. The Daniel Langois Foundation maintains an extensive archive on ...
A card catalog designed to hold all of the songs on my iPod, 7,390 songs. Each song is cataloged on a single card. The cards are organized in reverse chronological order, that is the songs I listened to most recently are in the front of the catalog, and the songs I haven’t listened to in two years exist at the back. The piece is seven feet long when closed and just under fourteen feet when opened.
Video: Woody Vasulka, Vocabulary, 1973
Video: Steina Vasulka, Warp, 2000
VASULKA.ORG is a tremendous resource for anyone interested in exploring the work of pioneering video and computer artists Steina and Woody Vasulka. The site not only contains an incredible selection of video clips and other documentation of the Vasulka's art work, but it is also host to the Vasulka Archive. Assembled from the personal collection of the Vasulkas and that of Peter Crown, David Dunn, Ralph Hocking, Sherry Miller, Phil Morton, Lynda Rodolitz, Jud Yalkut, and Gene Youngblood, this collection consists of over 27,000 pages of documents relevant to the history of video and electronic art.
The National Film Board of Canada launched Screening Room last week. The site hosts over 700 films produced by NFB, which are now available for streaming and sharing. During the span of their 70 year history, the National Film Board of Canada have been a major force in independent Canadian cinema, underwriting a number of forward thinking documentaries, animations, and short films. NFB have been especially supportive of experimental and emerging film practices, a fact that becomes apparent when perusing their collection. (More recently, the organization began supporting moving image on other platforms as well. mobiDOCS: Confessions in a Digital Age, co-produced by NFB, is a series of short documentary films made especially for mobile phones.) See below for a few choice selections from Screening Room.
The online exhibition space Club Internet opened its fifth show "Free Fall" earlier this month with a party at Mediamatic in Amsterdam. I interviewed artist and founder Harm van den Dorpel about Club Internet and the current exhibition, which will remain up until November 15th. - Ceci Moss
How did Club Internet begin?
It started by buying the domain name www.clubinternet.org -- I eventually wanted to make money with it because Club Internet is a major telecom provider in France. But then I started playing with it and put a script online that enabled people to upload images. I got intrigued by the idea of forming a group of people like in a surfing club, with an exclusive and mysterious character found in societies like the Freemasons. Following that model, Club Internet is a society with membership, as well as being an online gallery.
The title for the latest Club Internet exhibition is "Free Fall." What is the concept behind this title?
Works for Club Internet are chosen because they are best viewed online, rather than making a transformation from the screen to a video projector in a gallery. Television programs are best viewed at home, and not in a cinema, I believe the same often applies to Internet art.
The previous shows sometimes dealt with the subculture of internet artists or were referring to some (technical) knowledge usually available only to the more Internet aware visitors. These were valid and interesting prerequisites, often found in clubs, but I wanted this new show to curate works that required no particular interest or knowledge about the technology behind the Net nor infrastructure of the online art world. This show was also the first with an 'official' opening event in a physical space, bringing the online ...
Commissioned by Art in General, Carlos Motta's new Internet archive, The Good Life, is the latest part of a project the artist has developed since 2005, comprising 360 video interviews with pedestrians in twelve Latin American cities. In his essay, "Postscript: Civilization or Barbarity," the Colombian artist outlines the shift from politicized, creative practices, like those of Argentina's Third Cinema and Brazil's Paulo Freire, to increasing U.S. incursions, since the 1970s, into Latin American governments and economies. Attempting to close the divide "between democratic theory and practice" and reclaim, according to essayist Stamatina Gregory, an older conception of participatory politics, explored by Aristotle and revived by Hannah Arendt, Motta asks his interviewees about their own conceptions of democracy, democratization, and U.S. interventions in the region. Visitors can navigate the site via a variety of criteria, including interviewee occupation, location, and age group, as well as interview theme. The unedited, straightforward quality of the videos, Motta writes, renders "the process of the work's making transparent," foregrounding the many and varied stories and opinions that constitute the public community. While commissioned essays and texts, a forthcoming illustrated publication, and past exhibitions have articulated The Good Life's various facets and adaptable nature, Motta hopes the Internet will be "a way to reach a wider audience outside the field of art...and to make the work available to the individuals that responded to the questions" - Tyler Coburn
Image: Carlos Motta, Revolution is power for the people (Still from The Good Life), 2008
Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) Technical Coordinator