In Hungary and perhaps elsewhere it seems that one finds artists using
"new media" as a medium in two ways: the first group is interested and
involved with the medium as subject itself, exploring and pushing the
medium within its own boundaries; the second takes more from the "outside"
and combines the two in a more expansive manner – they use the more
metaphoric and conceptual elements in the medium. I am mostly interested
in the bridging, where new media is used as a tool and reference by which
technology can be viewed from a broad perspective, not from within itself.
Where the inherent characteristics and capabilities of the medium are used,
but with a scope that transcends the vehicle.
A lot of debate currently centers on what I believe is essentially this
issue. The Californian ideology basically asserts a premise that new media
will break from its confines and change the world rather than the world
changing new media. On the other extreme some believe that the Internet
will turn into another television: mass media for the masses. This is a
basic philosophical difference, by immersing one's self in the Internet and
seeing how quickly it has changed and spread into different strata of
society one can be convinced of the utopia preached by some like John Perry
Barlow, but if you look on the outside other issues spring up that temper
this view at the least.
The Butterfly Effect, a large new media exhibition at the Mucsarnok (the
equivalent of a German Kunsthalle), gave an interesting look at how new media
is used here. The art works in the exhibition split into two groups, both
ranging in quality. Either they used the technology to amuse and
entertain, or they used it to explore more far reaching concerns. The latter
was more interesting from my position. The flashing lights and beeps
attracted enormous crowds to the exhibition and tended to obscure the more
"serious" work. This I think is indicative of how Hungarians view new
media. It has become a trend here as in the rest of the West. The image
and style of the package is more important than the content.
What I am interested in writing about is the more content oriented
projects, whether specifically "art" related or more general. This as you
know is the theme of the Metaforum III conference and I think that an
examination of Hungarian media and art could be interesting from this