Matthias Fritsch is an independent artist from Berlin, most well known for his work Kneecam No 1—the live video that brought Technoviking to the internet. Over a decade after he uploaded the clip that went viral, Fritsch now is enduring a long legal battle with Technoviking himself, who sued for the reproduction, proliferation, and unwarranted use of his likeness. In response to the process, Fritsch is making The Story of Technoviking, a crowd-funded documentary that aims to shed light on the legal issues surrounding viral images. Below, Fritsch talks about what it’s like do battle in court with a viking, the ownership of images in the internet age, and hopes for his current project.
My Life Without Technoviking—since the trial began, Fritsch is no longer allowed to use images of the plaintiff's face.
DQ: Matthias, I'm of course curious about the video that originated it all. What was, for you, Kneecam No 1 (2000) before it became an internet meme? Why did you upload it to YouTube? Were you expecting such a viral reaction? What did you think when it happened?
This text has been written for the proceedings of the international conference "New Perspectives, New Technologies", organized by the Doctoral School Ca' Foscari - IUAV in Arts History and held in Venice and Pordenone, Italy in October 2011
The "portal" designed by Antenna Design to show net based art in the exhibition "Art Entertainment Network", Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2000. Courtesy Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.
In the late nineties and during the first decade of this century the term “new media art” became the established label for that broad range of artistic practices that includes works that are created, or in some way deal with, new media technologies. Providing a more detailed definition here would inevitably mean addressing topics beyond the scope of this paper, that I discussed extensively in my book Media, New Media, Postmedia (Quaranta 2010). By way of introduction to the issues discussed in this paper, we can summarize the main argument put forward in the book: that this label, and the practices it applies to, developed mostly in an enclosed social context, sometimes called the “new media art niche”, but that would be better described as an art world in its own right, with its own institutions, professionals, discussion platforms, audience, and economic model, and its own idea of what art is and should be; and that only in recent years has the practice managed to break out of this world, and get presented on the wider platform of contemporary art.
It was at this point in time, and mainly thanks to curators who were actively involved in the presentation of new media art in the contemporary art arena, that the debate about “curating new media (art)” took shape. This debate was triggered by the pioneering work of curators – from Steve Dietz to Jon Ippolito, Benjamin Weil and Christiane Paul – who at the turn of the millennium curated seminal new media art exhibitions for contemporary art museums; and it was – and still is –nurtured by CRUMB - “Curatorial Resource for Upstart Media Bliss” - a platform and mailing list founded by Beryl Graham and Sarah Cook in 2000 within the School of Arts, Design, Media and Culture at the University of Sunderland, UK. As early as 2001, CRUMB organized the first ever meeting of new media curators in the UK as part of BALTIC's pre-opening program – a seminar on Curating New Media held in May 2001.
In the context of this paper, our main reference texts will be CRUMB-related publications, from the proceedings of “Curating New Media” (2001) to Rethinking Curating. Art After New Media (2010), a recent book by Beryl Graham and Sarah Cook; and New Media in the White Cube and Beyond, a book edited by Christiane Paul in 2008. Instead of addressing the specific issues and curatorial models discussed in these publications, we will try to focus on the very foundations of “curating new media”, exploring questions like: does new media art require a specific curatorial model? Does this curatorial model follow the way artists working with new media currently present themselves on the contemporary art platform? How much could “new media art” benefit from a non-specialized approach? Are we curating “new media” or curating “art”? ...
The following excerpt comes from the final chapter of my book Media, New Media, Postmedia, recently published in Italian by Postmediabooks, who kindly gave Rhizome permission to republish it in English. The book is an attempt to analyze the current positioning of so-called “New Media Art” in the wider field of contemporary arts, and to explore the historical, sociological and conceptual reasons for its marginal position and under-recognition in recent art history.
Beyond New Media Art
Kino Šiška Center For Urban Culture
Trg prekomorskih brigad 3, Ljubljana
22 – 23 April 2014
What is New Media Art? What does this term really describe? What has occasioned the schism between this term and the art scene it is supposed to describe? And lastly, what can explain the limited presence of this artistic practice – which appears to have all the credentials for representing an era in which digital media are powerfully reshaping the political, economic, social and cultural organisation of the world we live in – in critical debates? All these and many other questions are tackled by Italian art critic Domenico Quaranta in his new book Beyond New Media Art (Link Editions, 2013).
Beyond New Media Art is, on the one hand, an attempt to analyse the current positioning of the so-called New Media Art within the broader field of contemporary arts and to investigate the historical, sociological and conceptual reasons for its marginal position and limited visibility in contemporary art history. On the other hand, the book is also an attempt to introduce new critical and curatorial strategies, which would render this marginalisation a thing of the past, and to elucidate the topicality of art that deals with media and the issues of the information age.
Domenico Quaranta will introduce the book at the press conference for journalists and experts and at a two-day free seminar, intended primarily for students and artists, but open to general audiences.
On this occasion, the Aksioma issued a Slovenian translation of the book, which is available through an online platform for print on demand and as a free e-book (epub and pdf): http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?type=&keyWords=onkraj+novomedijske+umetnosti&x=6&y=6&sitesearch=lulu.com&q=
The English version of the book is available at the following links:
Print on demand: http://www.lulu.com/shop/domenico-quaranta/beyond-new-media-art/paperback/product-21028929.html
To apply for the seminar please send your full name, e-mail address and telephone number to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The seminar will be held in English.
In the next days, some quotes from the book will be made available on the "Beyond New Media Art" blog, open to discussion for both the participants in the seminar and a broader international audience. Check it out at blog http://medianewmediapostmedia.wordpress.com/
Supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Municipality of Ljubljana.
The complete list of participants includes: Alterazioni Video, Anthony Antonellis, Aram Bartholl, Erik Berglin, Enrico Boccioletti, Heath Bunting, Marco Cadioli, Martin John Callanan, Gregory Chatonsky, Adam Cruces, Caroline Delieutraz, Harm Van Den Dorpel, Constant Dullaart, Electroboutique, Herbert W. Franke, Elisa Giardina Papa, Matteo Giordano, Emilio Gomariz, IOCOSE, Janez Janša, Janez Janša, Janez Janša, JODI, Joan Leandre, Jan Robert Leegte, Jonas Lund, Eva and Franco Mattes, Rosa Menkman, Filippo Minelli, Vera Molnar, Jaakko Pallasvuo, Angelo Plessas, Evan Roth, Alexei Shulgin, Carlo Zanni.
All the featured artists are either based or born in Europe. The selection includes different generations of artists working with the digital medium and within the digital environment, from early pioneers such as Vera Molnar and Herbert W. Franke, to net.art classics such as JODI and Alexei Shulgin, to younger artists still in their twenties. The selected works display a wide range of formats, and respond in different ways – sometimes traditionally, sometimes more radically – to the issue of collecting the digital: prints, installations, drawings and videos are joined by animated gifs, websites, printable 3D files and 3D printed sculptures. Some of them display generative images, some others deal with desktop aesthetics; some refer to online habits, cultures and places, others are strictly related to the living and working conditions introduced by the digital shift. They all inhabit networked spaces; they are Born Digital.
Starting prices vary from the very affordable (around 100 EURO for a ViBo – Video Book by Carlo Zanni or a Certificate of Existence by Martin John Callanan) to the higher prices reached by outstanding installations like Jan Robert Leegte’s Scrollbar Composition 2005/2011. If an artwork is sold, 20% of the final price will be used to support the upcoming activities of the Link Art Center.
The LINK Center for the Arts of the Information Age (Link Art Center) is a multi-functional center promoting artistic research with new technologies and critical reflections on the core issues of the information age. Founded in Brescia, Italy, in 2011, the Link Art Center is active locally, internationally and online: it organizes exhibitions, produces artistic and curatorial projects, publishes books. To check out past activities, visit our website: www.linkartcenter.eu. The funds raised will be used to support our ongoing activities: Link Editions, our publishing initiative; Link Point, our project space; and Link Cabinet, our upcoming online gallery.
Paddle8 is an online auction house, connecting buyers and sellers of fine art and collectibles across the Internet. Paddle8 presents two types of auctions: curated auctions of art and collectibles under $100,000, and benefit auctions in collaboration with non-profits. Since its founding in 2011, Paddle8 has collaborated with over 200 non- profit organizations worldwide to present their benefit auctions online, dramatically expanding the audience of supporters and fundraising results for each non-profit partner. More info: http://paddle8.com
The Link Art Center would like to thank all the artists, XPO Gallery (Paris), 22,48m2 (Paris) and DAM Gallery (Berlin) for their amazing support in this initiative.
In more than five years of activity, the Free Art and Technology Lab (F.A.T. Lab) produced an impressive series of projects, all developed with open source software, shared online and documented in a way that allows everybody to copy, improve, abuse or simply use them. This approach situates F.A.T. Lab in a long tradition of DIY, processual, sharable artistic practices based on instructionals, and reveals a democratic idea of art where Fluxus scores meet hacker culture (and rap music).
Featuring texts by Régine Debatty, Evan Roth, Domenico Quaranta, Geraldine Juárez and Randy Sarafan, The F.A.T. Manual is a selection of more that 100 projects, done in the belief that printing these bits on paper will allow them to spread in a different way, infiltrate other contexts, and germinate. An archive, a catalogue, a user manual and a software handbook documenting five years of thug life, pop culture and research and development.
F.A.T. Lab (www.fffff.at) is an organization dedicated to enriching the public domain through the research and development of creative technologies and media. F.A.T. Lab’s greater network of artists, engineers, scientists, lawyers, and musicians are committed to supporting open values and the public domain through the use of emerging open licenses, support for open entrepreneurship, and the admonishment of secrecy, copyright monopolies, and patents. F.A.T. Lab was co-founded in 2007 by Eyebeam senior fellows Evan Roth and James Powderly. Over the past five years, the group has grown to include twenty-five artists, designers and hacker from 3 continents.
Link Editions (http://editions.linkartcenter.eu) is a publishing initiative of the Link Center for the Arts of the Information Age. Link Editions uses print on demand and digital formats to create an accessible, dynamic series of essays and pamphlets, but also artist books, catalogues and conference proceedings. A keen advocate of the idea that information wants to be free, Link Editions releases its contents free of charge in .pdf format, and on paper at a price accessible to all. Link Editions is a not-for-profit initiative and all its contents are circulated under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) license.
MU will host the official, international book launch at the opening of “F.A.T. GOLD Europe” on Friday November 15, with a presentation by the editors.
Geraldine Juárez, Domenico Quaranta (Eds.), The F.A.T. Manual, Link Editions, Brescia 2013. English, soft cover, color, 224 pp. ISBN 9781291577914
Designed by: Fabio Paris
Published by: Link Editions, Brescia 2013
Co-produced by: F.A.T. Lab, MU
On the occasion of the exhibition: “F.A.T. GOLD Europe”, MU, Eindhoven, November 15, 2013 – January 26, 2014
With generous support from: Baltan Laboratories, Eindhoven Municipality, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and Creative Industries Fund NL, Rotterdam
Made in collaboration with: XPO Gallery, Paris
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
One's computer is a repository of valuable things that, for some reason, never went public: unpublished projects, drafts, short notes, private emails, unreleased interviews and texts, tales, poems, quotes, image or spam email collections, whatever.
If you think this content may be significant also for a wider audience and may work well in book form, the book series “In My Computer” may be the right jar for your jam.
“In My Computer” is a series of books collecting unpublished material available in your computer, produced by Link Editions and available for free download in digital form and in printed form through the print-on-demand (POD) service Lulu.com and Amazon.com. The concept wants to give value to the contents stored on our computer, a personal archive that is, from time to time, a den for our researches, a private diary, a place of accumulation and storage of digital contents. Since the distinction between public and private, online and offline is becoming increasingly blurred, the series is open to contents circulated online in any form. In this perspective, the book is an extraordinary tool for the rematerialization of the ephemeral, for archiving the impermanent, and for ordering the digital chaos we are living in.
Link Editions (http://editions.linkartcenter.eu/) is a publishing initiative of the Link Center for the Arts of the Information Age. Link Editions uses the print on demand approach to create an accessible, dynamic series of essays and pamphlets, but also catalogues and artist books. A keen advocate of the idea that information wants to be free, Link Editions releases its contents free of charge in .pdf format, and on paper at a price accessible to all. Link Editions is a not-for-profit initiative and all its contents are circulated under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) license. More info: http://www.linkartcenter.eu/.
1. The applicant is invited to send, via e-mail to the address email@example.com before January 15, 2014, the application in a single file (doc or pdf), filled with:
- a short concept (max 2000 chars);
- a short author bio (max 1000 chars);
- other materials (images, sample pages, excerpts) or links to other materials that can be useful for a better understanding and evaluation of the submitted work.
The application should be submitted in English.
2. “In My Computer” is an “artist books” series, but it is also open to proposals from theoreticians, designers and other creatives, provided that what they are submitting is not an essay or a collection of essays (for which Link Editions has a dedicated series, “Clouds”, also open to submissions).
3. After the deadline, Link Editions' editorial staff will select the proposals we want to publish along 2014, and will announce the result of the selection process by the end of February 2014. Link Editions reserves the right not to select a specific number of applications, but to decide how many proposals to select on the basis of the quality and viability of the proposals.
4. The winning projects will be published by Link Editions along 2014. Link Editions' editorial staff will cooperate with the author in the work on the layout, while the cover will follow the design of the other books in the series. The book can take any shape compatible with POD's production and distribution standards. (cf. http://bit.ly/jgcZxS).
“In My Computer” Book Series
More info on the books available on http://editions.linkartcenter.eu/
In My Computer # 1
Miltos Manetas, In My Computer, LINK Editions, Brescia 2011. Soft cover, 102 pages, English, € 12.00, ISBN: 978-1-4477-1939-7.
In My Computer # 2
Chris Coy, After Brad Troemel, Link Editions, Brescia 2013. Soft cover, 288 pp, English, € 15.00, ISBN 9781291404098.
In My Computer # 3
Martin Howse, Diff in June, Link Editions, Brescia 2013. Soft cover, 740 pp, English, 35,71 €, ISBN 9781291503593.
Upcoming in November: In My Computer # 4
Damiano Nava, Let the Right One In, Link Editions, Brescia 2013.