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.
Peer Pressure is a collection of essays previously published online between 2010 and 2011. In the author’s words, “each essay is an impassioned description or prescription to understand the digital space we inhabit differently.” Most of these writings have been highly influential for the (relatively) small community the author addresses, eliciting many heated debates. The texts idealistically address creative platforms, image aggregators, relational practices, internet memes and much more.
Brad Troemel (http://bradtroemel.com/) makes and writes about art on the internet. His writing has been featured in magazines and books. His art has been featured in galleries and sometimes even museums. He has earned two degrees from prestigious American art schools. He currently lives in a city full of diverse cultures and complicated intellectuals. Friend request or e-mail him, he’d be happy to talk to you.
Brad Troemel, Peer Pressure, LINK Editions, Brescia 2011. Soft cover, 138 pp, English, € 12.00, ISBN 978-1-4709-1561-2
Buy on Lulu.com (9.60 €, 20% off):
LINK Center for the Arts of the Information Age
Corsetto Sant'Agata, 22 - Brescia - Italy
September 24 – October 15, 2011, 3.00 – 7.00 PM
Preview: September 23, 2011, 3.30 PM
Opening: September 24, 2011, 6.30 PM
Artists: Alterazioni Video (IT), Kari Altmann (US), Cory Arcangel (US), Gazira Babeli (IT), Kevin Bewersdorf (US), Luca Bolognesi (IT), Natalie Bookchin (US), Petra Cortright (US), Aleksandra Domanovic (DE), Harm van den Dorpel (NL), Constant Dullaart (NL), Hans Peter Feldmann (DE), Elisa Giardina Papa (IT), Travis Hallenbeck (US), Jodi (NL), Oliver Laric (DE), Olia Lialina & Dragan Espenshied (DE), Guthrie Lonergan (US), Eva and Franco Mattes (IT), Seth Price (US), Jon Rafman (US), Claudia Rossini (IT), Evan Roth (US), Travess Smalley (US), Ryan Trecartin (US).
On occasion of the Settimana dell'Arte in Brescia (September 24 – October 1, 2011), the LINK Center for the Arts of the Information Age is proud to present the group show Collect the WWWorld. The Artist as Archivist in the Internet Age, curated by Domenico Quaranta. The show brings together 26 artists from all around the world, and will be accompanied by a rich programme of related events: presentations, conferences and workshops.
The last decade has witnessed an incredible growth in the production and distribution of images. The availability of inexpensive production tools has seen an exponential rise in amateur creativity, while the Internet provides a new distribution platform for this kind of production, which previously remained private.
What is the impact of this process on art practices and the artist – in the past, the sole, hallowed depositary of the creative gesture? What kind of dialogue is there between amateur practices and codified languages?
Collect the WWWorld. The Artist as Archivist in the Internet Age sets out to demonstrate how the Internet generation is implementing and developing a practice started in the Sixties by Conceptual Art, and further developed in subsequent decades in the forms of Appropriation Art and postproduction: the practice of exploring, collecting, archiving, manipulating and reusing huge amounts of visual material produced by popular culture and advertising. Collect the WWWorld is an attempt to show how art responds to the information society.
The research work around the show can be followed on the blog http://collectheworld.tumblr.com.
A catalogue will be published for the show, with essays by Josephine Bosma, Gene McHugh, Joanne McNeil and Domenico Quaranta and presentations of all the artists on show. The catalogue (colour, 160 pp.) will be available at the show, but can already be bought or downloaded free from the LINK Center website: an open approach that highlights the center's belief in the accessibility and free circulation of knowledge.
Together with the catalogue, the LINK Center will also publish - in the same way - the book Post Internet by the New York based art critic Gene McHugh. Edited by the author, the book is a selection of posts published on his blog Post Internet, which was developed between December 2009 and September 2010 with the support of the Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program. It offers an overview of the art of the Internet Age; namely art capable of acknowledging the presence and impact of this unprecedented medium of distribution and dissemination.
Domenico Quaranta (ed.), Collect the WWWorld. The Artist as Archivist in the Internet Age, exhibition catalogue, 160 pp., colour, Italian / English. 46 €, LINK Editions, September 2011, ISBN 978-1-4478-3949-1. With texts by Josephine Bosma, Gene McHugh, Joanne McNeil.
Gene McHugh, Post Internet, 274 pp., English. 14 €, LINK Editions, September 2011, ISBN 978-1-4478-0389-8.
Collect the WWWorld will be accompanied by a rich programme of related events. On the occasion of the opening of “Art Week” (September 24), the LINK Center will take part in the show “Arte nell'Arte” at the Museo di Santa Giulia (a new Unesco World Heritage site) with the installation Hellblau by the US based artist Kari Altmann. Hellblau (2008 – ongoing) is a project that consists in tracing the manifestations of a particular shade of blue (hellblau in German). According to Kari Altmann, this colour is often used as “an interface for control, distance, power, fetishization, lust, and omnipresent friendliness that acts as a sweet, high-pitched mask for deeper intentions”. In the installation, the images researched by the artist are printed on little polyurethane “icebergs” that float around in an electric blue swimming pool.
On the same night, the LINK Center will take part in the series “Artisti all'Eden” staged at the Nuovo Eden Cinema with the project Emoticons from Italian Cinema by Matteo Erenbourg with Claudio Beorchia: an archive of small animations “stolen” from Italian cinema, and shared online as “emoticons”, which add an emotional layer to online, text-based communication.
On Thursday 29 September Domenico Quaranta, Artistic Director of the LINK Center, will hold a talk on contemporary art at the San Barnaba Auditorium in Brescia.
During the show, the exhibition venue will also host a series of artist's talks, workshops and performances by some of the artists in the show, including Matteo Erenbourg and the Dutch artists Harm van den Dorpel, Constant Dullaart and Jodi. The Dutch artists’ presentations are kindly supported by the Mondriaan Foundation.
More info: www.linkartcenter.eu
During the show, the LINK Center is willing to organize guided tours and programmes for visitors and students from art schools and universities. For information and bookings, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
More info: http://www.linkartcenter.eu
Press folder: http://linkartcenter.eu/public/press/Collect_press_folder.zip
Main sponsor: Innovery
Technical Sponsor: Reinventart
Supported by: Regione Lombardia
Dutch artists presentations supported by: Mondriaan Foundation
Soft cover, 114 pages, Italian / English, € 12.00, ISBN: 978-1-4477-1182-7
Miltos Manetas, In My Computer, LINK Editions, Brescia 2011.
Soft cover, 102 pages, English, € 12.00, ISBN: 978-1-4477-1939-7
Buy / Download - http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/linkeditions
The LINK Center for the Arts of the Information Age is proud to announce the publication of two new books: Random, by Valentina Tanni, and In My Computer, by Miltos Manetas. Like the first book produced by LINK Editions (In Your Computer, by Domenico Quaranta), they have been published with the Print on Demand service Lulu.com, and they are available for free download in pdf format and for sale in paper format. With this approach, the LINK Center wants to translate into a massive, fast and accessible editorial activity the key elements of its peculiar vision: accessibility of tools, free circulation of information, international audience.
Random, by Valentina Tanni (www.valentinatanni.com), wants to celebrate the ten years of an online magazine that became part of the history of contemporary art publishing in Italy. Born in 2001, Random Magazine evolved in the following years into the main information platform about art and new technologies available in Italy. The book collects a wide selection of news, together with a smaller selection of articles and reviews that document the pioneering critical activity developed by its author along the same years.
In My Computer, by artist Miltos Manetas (www.manetas.com), is a collection of essays, interviews, short tales, parables, e-mails and drafts by its author. Written between 1997 and 2011, some of these texts are widely known, many others are unpublished, and just came out of his computer. All of them contribute to portray a personality who had a strong influence on younger generations of artists, thanks to his impressive body of work - including paintings, videos, installations, prints, performances and, last but not least, websites - but also to his writings.
Manetas' book is the first of a series of artists' writings: “notebooks” sharing the same title (In My Computer) and the same concept, being collections of widely known and unpublished texts, spare fragments and private writings.
More information: http://www.linkartcenter.eu/
the fourth of a series of exhibitions in which some contemporary
artists are invited to give a new meaning to the informational space
“liberated” from the unwieldy presence of the Italian Prime Minister.
After three group shows (DE_ZER Vol. 1, DE_ZER Vol. 2 and DE_ZER Vol. 3), the DEberlusconiZER will host two solo shows, in order to allow a better understanding of two very peculiar projects: La Merde, by Luca Bolognesi (May 27 – June 5, 2011) and Always on My Mind, by Salvatore Iaconesi (June 6 – June 15, 2011).
Both the works – very different in
terms of content and inspiration – challenge the technological and
conceptual infrastructure provided by the DEberlusconiZER.
Ironically playing with the workings and intentions of the project, Luca
Bolognesi chose to refuse submitting any alternative content to the
original images and texts. The level interposed between the censored
content and the spectator is transparent, images and texts are still the
ones the DEberlusconiZER wanted to set us free from. The
program becomes a celibatory machine that fails its target. The caption
you are reading, with the work's title and explanation, becomes the only
way to identify the work itself. And yet, the title La merde
(according to the artist, provided by an online text generator in its
French release) proves that Bolognesi's contribution is far for being
nihilistic, defeatist and polemical against the possibilities provided
by its host body. Whatever it's meaning is, and despite its
invisibility, La Merde ends up creating a strong, unprecedented association between images.
After Bolognesi's inexorable void, the DEberlusconiZER will host Iaconesi's lavish filling. Sneer and scatology can be found as well in Always on My Mind,
a work that we are not going to describe here in order to let you enjoy
the biting taste of the surprise we had when we first tested it. Save
the date: June 6, 2011.
The DEberlusconiZER is a web
tool that replaces the images and words related to the Italian Prime
Minister. The software subverts the media machine created by one of the
most controversial figures in Italian politics by reclaiming the space
devoted to him and using it for new porpuses.
The DEberlusconiZER is a project by Elisa Giardina Papa, Fabrizio Giardina Papa, Giovanni Salerno and Floriano Lapolla.
The artists have been selected and invited by art critic Domenico Quaranta.