Ars Electronica 2001
Festival-Website 2001
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Festival 1979-2007


Strategies of Intertaintment

'Heimo Ranzenbacher Heimo Ranzenbacher

The topos art is derived from the agreement concerning certain forms of manifestation and methods of production and presentation which determine how art is received by those encountering it as well as its institutional environment. The interest in change—a topos implicit in art that is superficially understood perhaps in the sense of a socially oppositional attitude but actually in the sense of a recognition function—is an expression of the acceptance of art in society. This statement establishes the principle of the avant-garde. Transgressing borders, penetrating into territories not conventionally associated with art and causing irritation there was a typical method. Today, since art training includes skills that were previously considered alien to art, what is irritating is the transgression of borders through acceptance of artistic strategies in areas that were previously alien to art—above all, “art” itself. This development in the line of tradition of the avant-garde now leads consequently (aside from the waning of the avant-garde and the emergence of postmodernism) to the overcoming of the avant-garde—without it losing its resistant character. No longer the dichotomy society-art, but rather art’s concept of self (regardless of whether modern or information modern) here constitutes the crux of a shift of emphasis in the development. On the basis of initial observations announcing a Takeover, plausible scenarios are already conceivable—at least for art. The expanded field of works and skills that Horst Hörtner subsumes in this volume under the heading “Intertainment” (see Pixelspaces) is the one most clearly defined. The Ars Electronica FutureLab projects briefly described here and partly conceived in cooperation with Land Design Studio, London are examples of this. The main differences among the installations and concepts are their approaches, their orientation on the artifacts of a museum facility, and their very environments such as a museum itself or a factory and its operating systems.

A large-scale projection of the diagram of a factory displays in real-time animation the paths of information, materials, production etc. in current working processes. Plasma panels move in front of the screen; these allow for live video hook-ups to show significant events at the “hot spots” of the various production sequences. The rhythm of these events as determined by the production technology—regularly started rolling-mill procedures or blast furnace tappings—provide a sort of “chronometer” of the facility.
is an installation designed for an art collection. It consists of a rear projection screen to display paintings and an infoscreen. Transparencies are located in front of the projected images; these can be taken by the user and placed in the Artanalyser, which then displays the particular image and relevant information about it. The Artanalyser’s infoscreen also includes a touchscreen feature that makes it possible to zoom in on sections of the picture and the history of the image, and to access primary and secondary information on the mode of depiction.
is reminiscent of a memory game. An LCD panel provides the user with images and classification data about insect specimens in a natural history collection. When scanning reveals a possible match between the data about certain insects, the panel can be shifted to the particular insects and this can be checked out. In the case of a confirmed match, additional members of the particular species are displayed by a specially designed website.
The FutureLab in collaboration with Sam Auinger, Pete Nevin and Hans Hoffer executed RaumZeitSpiegel (space-time mirror) and TimeExplorer for the 2000 Upper Austria Province Fair in Wels (www.aec.at/la_2000). RaumZeitSpiegel was the gateway installation of the exhibit entitled “Time—Myth, Phantom and Reality”; its task was to sensitize visitors to the topic. TimeExplorer was an interactive installation designed for groups of visitors; it provided tables at which visitors could register their hopes for and fears about the future. Scenarios derived from these expressions were visualized in a multiple screen architecture.
The phases of the structural history of a church are documented on a wall along the length of a corridor. A window opposite this wall provides a view of the church itself and enables viewers to focus on the exact part that is being treated in the documentation at the moment by shifting a marker on the double-glass pane by simply changing their own position.
Duett consists of two robots guiding visitors along an assembly line manned by industrial robots. In a dual narration, they explain the facility and thus themselves.
Construction History of Melk is an installation on the history of the construction of the Melk Monastery in which animation sequences on the various sections of the complex can be displayed. One of these sequences deals with the key structural changes made from 1649 to 1736. The materials that serve as points of departure for this visualization are views of the monastery made by different artists from different periods using different techniques. The end product is an animation sequence that unifies in a single camera pan the respective perspectives from the first depiction to the last while taking into account the various different stylistic features, resulting in artistic/historical time travel through the structural development of the monastery.