Ars Electronica 2003
Festival-Website 2003
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Media | Art | Education

'Cecilia Hausheer Cecilia Hausheer

The Media | Art | Education exhibition deals with digitization’s impact on the arts and the future consequences of this phenomenon. It features the latest trends to emerge from the experimental laboratories of the Department of Media and Art at the School of Art and Design Zurich.

The exhibition’s organizers have intentionally avoided producing a “Zurich’s Greatest Hits”—type showcase. Instead, this compilation gives viewers in Linz a look at degree projects by the Class of 2003, recently completed undergrad classwork, as well as current works-in-progress from different fields of instruction and experimentation—in concrete terms, Internet-based works, interactive installations (including audio, multimedia and cross-media applications), computer animation, films, video documentaries and performance works. Topics/themes include constructions of meaning, perception of shifting sounds/spaces/ contexts, power/control, high/low tech, hybrid, recycling/recombinant, open source, and media-historical memory.

The Department of Media and Art’s collaborating partner is Linz’s University of Art, which has made space available for the exhibition on three floors of its premises.
During the festival, the University of Art’s façade will become a public interface. This interface—the Teleklettergarten portal project—emerged as the winner of a competition held by the Zurich school for the design of the façade in accordance with CODE, the festival theme. Finally, in Kino Moviemento, the School of Art and Design presents a program on the manifold effects that digitization has been having on film (see page 391).

BEATWEEN—Impulse in the Pulse
Interactive Sound Installation, 2003 / SNM
Michael Hampel

In a darkened room, video cameras shooting simultaneously from different angles capture the impulses triggered by the movements of visitors. Out of granulated, quantized samples, they form polymorphous, fluid constructions between rhythm and sound. The indistinct, grinding contours in between (interpolation, morphing) are like wind-born sand that gets in ones eyes and sensitizes one to the interaction and reciprocal effects of different porous levels of time that are inseparably bound to movement and space. Beatween: being the impulse in the pulse.
FAX.BOOT.FORCE: Become an Engine of One
Interactive Installation, 2003 / SNM
Felix Eggmann/Max Rheiner

The Pentagon paid $7 million to develop “America’s Army: Operations,” an online video game designed to train young Americans and to give them a realistic view of a modern army.
FAX.BOOT.FORCE deals with interfaces at the nexus of society, army and the entertainment industry. In a playful installation, visitors to the exhibit are recruited as FAX ARMY SOLDIERS and assigned to a unit of the virtual army. Recruits’ behavior during the enlistment process influences their army career ...
Action September 2003 / SNM
Gregor Huber/Ivan Sterzinger

Homeland as canned goods put up in times of the mental defense of the country. Today, their best-before dates long since expired, they sit in storage at the nation’s dealers in second-hand wares. Heimatwerk (in German-speaking Europe, a quasi-official purveyor of native folkloric costumes and handicrafts) promotes a discourse about the changing image of homeland by using a process of re-adaptation and a public mise-en-scène to recontextualize homeland-related subjects that used to have a powerfully identity-endowing effect. The material for the graphics was acquired at local second-hand dealers and reads like a historical film script of a previously institutionally subsidized staging of Switzerland in a pictorial language.
loogie.net tv
Internet application for television, 2003 / SNM
Marc Lee

loogie.net tv displays current TV news reportage on user-selected subjects at the press of a button. By entering a keyword by means of a special remote control device, the user can determine the topic of the material appearing on TV and thus view a custom-tailored news program. In a second step, the program currently appearing can also be thematically focused in accordance with the user’s own interests. loogie.net tv takes advantage of the abundant resources of the Internet to satisfy TV viewers’ needs more optimally than ever.
Interactive Installation, 2002 / SNM
Silvan Leuthold

The typewriter as a familiar medium for writing text is combined with a computer to become an input/output interface that dictates to the user his/her own portrait as an ASCII image. ImageWriter is characterized by the confrontation of the typewriter with the computer and by the encounter of low-tech and high-tech. It illustrates the shortcomings as well as the charm of the predecessor of the modern-day keyboard as an input interface—the battle of the generations, retro-cult and ASCII-art. The end product, entered on the typewriter by the sweat of the typist’s brow, is hardly conceivable independent of the controlling computer; nevertheless, the print-out made by a typewriter differs significantly from a computer print-out.
Jusqu’ici tout va bien
Installation, 2003 / SNM
Anne-Lea Werlen / Carmen Weisskopf
“We want neither to punish the machine for its inability to win a beauty pageant nor to punish the human being for losing a race with an airplane.”
(Alan Turing)
When a human being and a machine stand face to face in an elevator, will they see eye to eye? Jusqu'ici tout va bien (“so far, so good”) sheds light on how understanding functions and meaning emerges in the interplay of man and machine. What is the meaning of the human need by all means to endow with meaning our dealings with machines? This installation takes a measure of that sphere between sense-endowing interpretation and the crash beyond the pale of understanding and access.
Luxus4all – open office
Internet Installation, 2003 / SNM
Mario Purkathofer / Doma Smoljo

Luxus4all.org is a Web interface offering open access to free informational products. Luxury for all—a free market for information, concepts and their users. Producers of information, ideas and creative theories are invited to make their unfinished works available under an open license. In the open office, this information can be obtained as open products. Anyone who acquires such a product does not obtain ownership of a piece of merchandise but rather assumes shared responsibility for its publication, distribution, exploitation or cooperation.
Mommy, I want superalgorithms too...!
Interactive Installation, 2003 / SNM
Niki Schawalder

A super-switchbox provides—in a most charming way—access to the interior of a digital system and insight into how software thinks. In contrast to common, everyday access via mouse and keyboard, a lamp-switch interface gives non-programmers an opportunity to get a close-up look at the inner workings of a digital system and to write a piece of super-software themselves. Through five windows, the box provides a glimpse into its program-specific logic. Some curious souls might start getting bright ideas.
Desktop Hardware Orchestra
Interactive Sound Installation, 2003 / SNM
Roger Wigger/Mascha Leummens

The distinctive sounds made by the hardware components of a conventional desktop computer (hard disk drive, floppy disk drive, CPU, fan, etc.) comprise the acoustic instrument with which visitors can create their own compositions or listen to those composed by others. The software does not emulate “hardware” (for instance, a guitar); instead, it only regulates the sounds made by the components themselves. The results are musical structures played on devices that were not built for this purpose.
Recombinant_Hardware Hacker Project
Action Video, 2002 / SNM
Students who collaborated on this project in their major field of study: Anne-Lea Werlen, Carmen Weisskopf, Christoph Burgdorfer, Cindy Aebischer, Marco Klingmann, Mascha Leummens, Roger Wigger, Thomas Comiotto, Nico Dreher, Andrea del Carmen Cruz Gonzales
Project Directors: Prof. Margarete Jahrmann; Prof. Giaco Schiesser

Recombinant is a live video recording of an action in an urban setting that was conducted as the conclusion of a study project by students majoring in New Media. The idea behind the project was to collect and readapt old, obsolete hardware. What in another context is considered techno-junk was collected and reprocessed into individual hardware modules. The first step was to check out the various individual projects to determine—in a reinterpretation of the “hardware handshake”—if they could be compatibly hooked up with each other, and then they were analyzed with the aim of establishing what can be generated with the material itself without any further input. The spectrum ranges from sound that can be extracted directly via microphone from various different hardware components (Desktop Hardware Orchestra) to homemade wave LAN antenna modules, and all the way to a compacted computer that can be exhibited in the context of a work of art and thereby newly encoded.
SuPerVillainizer—Conspiracy Client
Website, 2002 / SNM
LAN / Annina Rüst

SuPerVillainizer is an interactive Web project that takes a stand against thinking in terms of the cliché-ridden images of the bad guys that are the basis of new surveillance scenarios. By generating artificial villains, SuPerVillainizer calls conventional concepts of friend and foe into question. The way it does this is by designing profiles of desperados, rogues and scapegoats, setting them up with real e-mail accounts at Swiss providers, getting them hooked up in conspiracies and then watching how the rogues start passing conspiracy content generated by SuPerVillainizer back and forth to each other. Users can have input into the conspiratorial e-mails and choose the language of the conspiracy. In this way, the carefully planned surveillance databanks get infiltrated, bewildered and filled up with conspiratorial connections.
Swiss Dotcoms in Retrospect
Video, 2003 / SNM
Thomas Comiotto/Niki Schawalder

Interviews focusing on the Internet boom in Switzerland, with those actually involved in a variety of different positions giving accounts of their experiences. Of principle interest here is not so much the fates of the various firms as individual ideas, motives and visions, and the participants’ career paths. Where did these people come from? What were their reasons for joining Internet start-ups? What conceptions did they have of the work, the sector, the market and their own chances of success? What are these people doing today?
Installation with Mobile Components, 2003 / SNM
Annina Rüst

track-the-trackers--- offers an expanded experience of the proliferation of video surveillance in the urban public sphere on an auditory basis. At the same time, it is a less-than-pragmatic cartographic device for producing individual and collective cartographic works, which in turn are fed back into the system. track-the-trackers--- is an installation with mobile components: the mobile unit, the track-the-trackers---bag, is borrowed and taken along on a journey through the urban space. The data gathered in this way are sent to the track-the-trackers---station and made available to the other participants via Internet platform. The installation prompts participants to think beyond the protection of their own private sphere and to invest in the public sphere.
Interactive “Audio Play” Installation 2003 / SNM
Christine Szabo / Valentina Vuksic

The installation is a cylindrical space outfitted with a computer screen whose user interface can be navigated by means of a joystick. 16elemente stages various elements of science fiction, belles-lettres and computer games on four different levels. The centerpiece of the work consists of fragments of four novels that have been orchestrated into an audio play. The various fields on the computer screen record the stories’ main themes and make available quotations and sound material on an interactive basis. Users can also select from among lighting and texture options to customize the atmosphere.
Compiler: Magazine for Contemporary Art
DVD, 2003 / SBK
Research Director: Susann Wintsch; Concept: Milica Tomic, Susann Wintsch;
Project Director: Hildegard Spielhofer; Private Sector Associates: Tweaklab AG, Basel, Hanspeter Giuliani; Graphics/Screen Design: Thomas Bircher;
Programmer: Hannes Rüttimann

This DVD magazine is a new platform showcasing contemporary art and especially video and audio works, short films, performances, actions and processes. Compiler defines itself as a collection of data compiled to investigate key issues in international contemporary art. Each issue focuses on a selected region, whereby the featured works of art and statements contributed by cultural producers implicitly or explicitly reflect aspects of their particular society and thus call attention to distinctive features or differences within the globalized system.
DVD, 2000 / SBK
Gabriela Gerber/Lukas Bardill
“There are wonderful opportunities to do business in Singapore.”—“Yes, and Hong Kong is even better.”—“… but you’re forgetting something—Beijing is the emerging city.”
(quoted by C. Seibt)
Gerber / Bardill gathered the material for Forum at the 2000 World Economic Forum in Davos. The on-screen sequences are superimposed upon one another on multiple video tracks. They create a turbulent flow of events featuring animalized helicopters. Large and small, near and far—like swarming insects, the helicopters float through the air, jabbing at or reconciling with one another. More and more of them, louder and louder—as their numbers increase, the rhythm accelerates. Wild rotor blades flap around like wings in a playful battle.
Schatten-tv (Shadow TV)
Media Event, 2003 / SBK
Jörg Köppl

The soundtrack of a selected TV channel gets processed, taken out of its original context, enhanced and broadcast on the radio. Listeners at home can enjoy a work of media art by turning on the TV, shutting off the sound, and tuning it the radio instead. The processing of the soundtrack is done with a computer program and by vocalists representing a number of different genres who improvise in the radio studio to the television images.

Schatten-tv is produced in cooperation with Radio FRO, Free Radio Upper Austria.
Concept: Jörg Köppl / Musical director: Philipp Schaufelberger
public plaiv
Contemporary Art in the La Plaiv Region of Oberengadin, Switzerland, 2003 / SBK
An interdisciplinary research project by the Department of Fine Arts of the School of Art and Design Zurich in cooperation with the Chair in Modern and Contemporary Art of the University of Zurich.
Project Director: Christoph Schenker;
Project Staff: Lilian Pfaff, Susann Wintsch, Tim Zulauf

public plaiv investigates the culture and the economy of La Plaiv, an alpine region of Oberengadin in which tourism plays an important role. There, the competition to attract new businesses and the marketing/sell-out of local resources and traditions threaten to increasingly polarize the locals’ image of themselves and how outsiders perceive them, and to drive a wedge between natives, tourists and guest workers. Invited artists conceptualize artworks that open up fields of new social functions. The first series of works premiered in July 2003.

Competition entry for public plaiv / SBK
Felix S. Huber /Florian Wüst, in collaboration with Daniel Burckhardt

Edit:MountainView is the design of a constantly changing collage of images and texts that can be viewed both as a real on-site installation and live in the Internet. The broadcast of a video stream from a plaza below the village of S-chanf is the point of departure. This 24/7 real-time document is constantly being interrupted, enhanced, commented upon and contrasted by the playback of video sequences and the interaction possibilities of the Internet. Edit:MountainView is based on the concept of the re:site project realized in 2002 by kunstprojekte_riem, Munich.

Sitzungszimmer (Conference Room)
Computer animation, 2001 / SBK
Cornelia Heusser

A real historical space, the former chambers of a justice of the peace, has been computer-modeled and placed in a new spatial context. The room is empty except for a long table with a couple of chairs. Even though there are no historical figures to be seen, the room nevertheless seems to have been brought to life by its long history. This impression of liveliness is realized graphically in the realm of virtuality—the room begins to rock and pitch like a galley ship; the chairs follow the movements, sliding slowly back and forth.

The digital space and the real one jointly determine the observer’s perception. The boundaries between virtuality and reality get a bit shaky as well. The point is for the observer to have to discover his own balance between the two worlds.
VonZeit zuZeit (FromTime toTime)
Video Installation, 2002 / SBK
Tom Karrer

A TV sits in a room; a light switch is located next to it. There is no picture to be seen on the set and no sound to be heard. When someone presses the button, a picture can be seen and a text heard as long as the button remains depressed.

The person on the TV screen recites an endless text; as soon as it ends, it immediately starts from the beginning again. Each sentence of the text segues immediately into the next one without a transitional pause in between; the next sentence seizes upon the previous one and, in this way, modifies its meaning. With each word he speaks, the person is standing at another spot within the room. In the background, a picture is visible in which a person is collapsing in slow motion.
Jubilee. Zehn Jahre Studienbereich Film / Video
(10th Anniversary of the Film / Video Department)
DVD, 2002 / SFV
Concept and Realization: Flavia Caviezel, Bernhard Lehner,
Thomas Schärer, Ronnie Wahli, Barbara Weber

Since this department was first established in 1992, more than 60 students have completed this four-year (up to 2002: five-year) program. The course of study trains generalists who do not approach film from the perspective of a specialized sub-discipline but rather as a cultural phenomenon whose sub-disciplines achieve consummation only in collaboration. Since 1992, over 400 films have been made as undergraduate assignments or as master’s thesis projects. The 10th Anniversary DVD brings together a selection of these dramatic films, documentaries, works of experimental cinema and animated shorts, complemented by added features such as the TV project Literaturquiz and alumni interviews.
Open Situation Room
Action Research, September 6-11, 2003 / SFO

Students taking an experimental lab at the School of Art and Design Zurich’s Department of Photography set up this research group in 2000. An expanded investigation of the circumstances in which images are organized and displayed, and how they are received by those viewing them made in necessary to question prevailing conditions and to process the results of this inquiry in the sense of performing action research. This open working group is made up of students at various institutions of higher education; it works in project-oriented fashion with a variety of different media.

For the exhibition Iconoclash – Beyond the War of Images in Science, Religion and Art presented in 2002 at the Center for Art and Media Technology (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, Germany, forschungsgruppe_f developed a contribution in the form of a temporary lab and office from which situational interventions into the exhibition were undertaken. The rituals and codes of displaying and viewing works as well as the consensuses and conflicts of opinion resulting from these activities were investigated and questioned with active involvement by visitors to the exhibition.

For Ars Electronica 2003 in Linz, forschungsgruppe_f is planning an open research station that takes the festival theme “Code—The Language of Our Time” into account with the focus on human factors in processes of designation. With performative means and corresponding personnel, a “tool” will be fashioned in collaboration with the audience on site and situationally utilized. Current issues like “friendly fire” will be part of the mix.

Project Management: Cecilia Hausheer
Curator: Cecilia Hausheer
Selection / Coordination of the Departments:
Fine Arts: Nadia Gisler, Felix S. Huber, Prof. Christoph Schenker
Film / Video: Prof. Marille Hahn
New Media: Prof. Christian Hübler, Alexander Tuchacek
Photography: Georg Winter, Prof. Ulrich Görlich
Best Boy: Prof. Giaco Schiesser
Film Programm for the Moviemento Cinema: Prof. Marille Hahne, Barbara Weber

MEDIA | ART | EDUCATION is supported by Pro Helvetia and the Embassy of Switzerland, Vienna
MEDIEN | KUNST | AUSBILDUNG wird unterstützt von Pro Helvetia und der Schweizer Botschaft, Wien