Ars Electronica 1999
Festival-Website 1999
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Festival 1979-2007



'August Black August Black

Perhaps you haven’t yet done a ping or a traceroute, or participated in irc chats or MUDs …
Maybe you haven’t exchanged live audio with different people throughout the world and heard your own voice sample sent back to you some seconds later through London, through Berlin, through Ljubljana …
Maybe you haven’t yet participated in online debates (i.e. gotten flamed for something stupid that you said in a mailing list) …
Perhaps you feel that using the telephone is just another way of shouting …
Perhaps you think that net art is synonymous with browser art or web art …
Perhaps you think that net.art is/was a serious artistic movement without any self-referential humor …
Perhaps you think that network-dependant art has more to do with animated gifs and flashy html plug-ins than with topology, dialogue, and exchange …
Perhaps you think that reading a book has nothing to do with virtual reality …
Maybe you think that new media are more important to artists than artists are to new media …
Perhaps you think that ”new media” is really something new …
Perhaps, by Internet, you mean a technology devoid of social, cultural, or political context/behavior …

Enter openX. While artists’ use of telecommunications media dates back well into the 70’s (and, most likely, further), it still remains hard to draw from this history an overview of the complex set of techniques and practices used in the contemporary setting. Whether seen as a result or fulfillment of 20th century art tradition, a tendency is to reconstruct a delineated history of this activity in network space in search of overlapping histories, making links to video art, performance, land art, body art, radio, fax & telephone art, fluxus, dada conceptual art etc.

One strategy might trace a convoluted matrix of document/undocumented events in search of the Mitochondrial Eve of network art. Another might lurk inward for a backwards compatible concept or ideology. If such concrete notions do exist, it is my guess that they root themselves in the behavior of networked systems. Problems arise when one attempts to identify the ”work” or the ”author” in these collaborative participatory activities. It seems agreed that the ”work” in this setting has more to do with exchange, process, and communication than with the delivery of content.

Along with this comes the problem of finding a way to present this sort of activity outside of its own network environment (taking for granted that some sort of presentation scheme aiming at a broader offline audience would be needed). One prototype so far has been to set up some computers inside a gallery or festival foyer were WWW pages from artists are displayed. Generally speaking though, people usually use this sort of set-up to surf the web or check their mails, which normally frustrates curators and such, who want to keep the focus on the ”art.”

Another downgraded variation of this prototype has been to simply install some web works on non-networked computers, stripping away the essential element. Besides the fact that non-web-based and/or participatory efforts are excluded in both cases, these presentation models are based on the traditional artist-audience/object-viewer relationship which is more or less inapplicable in this realm. The alternative that we have is the walk-in environment of openX—where the viewing or experiencing of ”works” is traded for a dialogue with some of the active participants in these fields on the process, behavior, and context of their activities.

Last year at the CyberConf in Budapest, I saw a video interview of a 90-year-old Hungarian lady who called herself the ”mother of all things connected.” In the interview, when asked about her thoughts on the Internet, she told a little story which sort of goes like this: She was standing once inside an elevator with mirrors all around. As she was looking at herself being multiplied within the mirrors, she noticed that after the 80th or 90th ”her,” she started to look evil, perverse, and demented. The ”her” she was looking at had been transformed into something else. While probably talking more to issues of identity, I also think she was addressing formal issues of a social structure, wherein the discourse surrounding the activity native to this networked environment is performed through the same structure as the activity itself. Like light trying to escape a black hole, content and context collapse onto each other within this abstract layer of mediation. Without binding traditional value systems of object or event to ”works of art,” openX should then attempt to invert this recursive relationship germane to participatory network activity adding a special Möbius-like twist into the division of online and offline worlds.

openX …
… is meant to be an open platform for exchange and dialogue.
… is a loose-knit group of artists in a temporary on-site situation.
… should act as a prototype (albeit 3 years old and not 100% perfect) for dealing with the presentation of art work and activity that defies the normal presentation models of gallery, museum, or performance.
… takes for granted the seemingly curious association of net art and festivals of art and technology.
… should deal with conditions of networking in a broader sense—not just the space that occurs when the machines are on.
… should consider ways of presenting non-WWW-related projects—projects embedded in e-mail, irc, and hybrid forms—participatory projects where the distinction between producer and audience dissolves.
… is meant to be an attempt to address works-in-progress (works constantly being updated), practices marginal to object or event, where the idea of a finished work of art is, at best, relative.
… should encourage encounter on a personal and informal one-on-one basis.
… should overlap the on/offline worlds.

At the Ars Electronica Festival 98, TNC Network launched its new network-based media-fictional setting, Hacking Millennium Park—the tracking down of a secret networked virtual theme park due to open in 2000.

During past months, TNC met key players of the international digital scene in order to collect the most solid base of information about the mysterious information construction site in cyberspace. TNC’s Data Jockeys reverse-engineered the collected sound material by digitally processing discontinuous bites of data within single information beats. These info beats were then passed on to DJs and producers who were invited to create special Millennium Park mixes inspired by the ongoing cyber-saga. The result is a continually evolving sound environment where the information reported on the virtual theme park mutates into beats, samples, and loops—the Soundtrack of Millennium Park. The tracking down of Millennium Park becomes a journey beyond the fringe of the electronic scene at the turn of the century. The Soundtrack of Millennium Park features Mark Pesce, Douglas Rushkoff, Derrick de Kerckhove, Neal Stephenson, Huber/Dorfmeister, Michael Wilson, Machiko Kusahara, Andrew Leonard, Shantel, Yumi Otagaki, Doyne Farmer, Friedrich Kittler, Marco Repetto, Tim Druckrey, Tom Sherman, Horst Hörtner, Kanae Sato, Eric Grosjean, August Black, Max More, Mark Weiser, Robert Nideffer, Victoria Vesna and many, many more.
Free B92
Free B92 net.radio is a project of the Free B92 coalition. Established in May 1999, the coalition has been involved in preserving an original spirit of banned Belgrade media house Radio B92 through actions such as the Free B92 web site, Netaid solidarity netcasts or the CybeRex on-line arts center.

Free B92 net.radio, furthermore, explores possibilities of escaping repression with technology, providing content free of censorship and state monopoly. Continuing the mission of Radio B92, an anti-war and human rights radio station, Free B92 net.radio explores Serbian postwar reality in its own way, filtering it through a lens of de-nazification and de-contamination.
C5 is the corporation of acculturation. The sciences of the artificial are stimuli redefining the nature of group formations and operations management resident in technology enterprise. Systems analysis and information mapping are the contemporary substance of data perception, of which the artifact is interface. C5 solutions are informed by collaborative expertise including implementations of artificial intelligence, bio-engineering, public relations, liquid computing, emergent behavioral systems, bio-metrics, virtuality, cognitive psychology, semiotics, anthropology, literary criticism, military studies, library science and art. Theory is product.

C5 is: Kristin Cully/Steve Durie/Benjamin Eakins/Jan Ekenberg/Bruce Gardner/Lisa Jevbratt/Veronica Ramirez/Anne-Marie Schleiner/Joel Slayton/Brett Stalbaum/Jack Toolin/Geri Wittig.
DreamTech International
Hiromi Amano and Usman Haque have collaborated on various Internet-related projects, including the Global Village Bank (http://www.gvb.org), Silicon City (now defunct) and Clones-R-Us (a division of DreamTech International at http://www.d-b.net/dti). In addition to correspondence, Hiromi handles behind-the-scenes work like programming and HTML. Usman usually operates in front-of-house situations, working on choosing colors, meeting potential investors, and taking credit for the projects undertaken by the two of them. Upcoming projects include a device for transmitting smells through email; a sleep-inducing website which prevents nightmares; and telepathic ICQ.
net.radio OZOne/E-LAB/Xchange
1999. Cyber-acoustic environment keeps opening up the boundaries. Still dominant is net.radio's diversity and development of its networking potential. Acoustic interfaces also are becoming more sophisticated. In order to reflect and promote the variety in net.radio development, the XCHANGE mailing list is focusing mainly on free flow of information exchange.

ORANG SYSTEM is now developing toward the Real Audio Servers’ Network. At the moment, there are three servers connected in the common network:
http://orang.orang.org RIS/Berlin
http://orang.re-lab.net RE-LAB/Riga
http://bak.spc.org/ORANG BACKSPACE/London

FREQUENCY CLOCK—net+fm project initiated by RadioQualia (Adelaide)—a cybernetic tuner picking up net.radio stations from around the world

WORLD SERVICE (by RADIO 90/Banff, RE-LAB.NET/Riga, RADIOQUALIA/Adelaide) is a 24-hour live net.radio scheduler on the net. A centralized live real audio stream will automatically update incoming audio sources—switching from station to station following the information in time scheduler. Contributors themselves will be able to edit the scheduler and to link up their live streams.

ORANG, FREQUENCY CLOCK, WORLD SERVICE realized in co-operation with:
Thomax Kaulmann /ORANG/RIS/ (Berlin), Pit Schultz /MIKRO/ORANG/ (Berlin), Diana McCarty /MRF/ (Budapest – Berlin), Heath Bunting /IRATIONAL.ORG/RADIO 90/ (London – Banff), Rachel Baker /IRATIONAL.ORG/BACKSPACE/ (London), Honor Harger & Adam Hyde /RADIOQUALIA/ (Adelaide), Janis Garancs /X-I.NET/ RE-LAB/(Riga—Stockholm), Martins Ratniks / OZONE / F5-DMD / Riga, Radio 90 / Banff, BACKSPACE/ (London) and with many others from the XCHANGE Network.
New media art is unusual in that the media used to make art work are the same as the medium used to talk about it. RHIZOME leverages this symmetrical relationship, creating a new type of cultural space specific to new media networks, where people can meet and talk about art.

RHIZOME's newest network project is STARRYNIGHT, a graphical interface for navigating through the Web site. Upon launching STARRYNIGHT, the user sees a dark night sky scattered with hundreds of stars. Each time someone reads an article on the RHIZOME Web site, a dim star appears on STARRYNIGHT. When an article gets read again, the corresponding star gets a bit brighter.

STARRYNIGHT links each star to the article it represents, and connects related stars into visible constellations. STARRYNIGHT currently has over 750 stars, and is growing quickly.
Just as ordinary corporations are solely and entirely machines to increase their shareholders' wealth (often to the detriment of culture and life), so RTMark is a machine to improve its shareholders' culture and life (often to the detriment of wealth).

Much as ordinary corporations learn to cloak themselves in regional or (sub)cultural garb in order to better exploit a new market, so RTMark casts its activities in various corporate contexts in order to expand acceptance of sabotage into new communities of interest.

Recently, RTMark was provided with gwbush.com and asked to cast anti-corporate sabotage in terms of a Presidential campaign. The result was satisfactory.
Eugene Thacker
Many of the net.art projects I've been working on have to do with an intersection, in computer network usage, between the body of the user and the bodies transmitted over the net (from projects utilizing anatomical data to real-time collaborative networking). In this intersection, different types of ”bodies of knowledge” occur in a zone where this relationship is variously recognized and confused. A central interest in this zone is thus how mediation acts as a primary element in configuring what will count as a body.
Margarete Jahrmann / Max Moswitzer
Konsum Art_Server
#Konsum LinX3D#
This conceptual WEB3D Artwork evaluates the aesthetics of different operating Systems as cultural code and syntax. Certain visual and structural appearances trickled into the common contemporary cultural consciousness. Ironically they are the last glimpse of corporate identity accepted partly as individual user identity. Software codes can be also aesthetically read, decoded. The codes of Joystick Nations and Computergame Culture have become socially accepted.

Web3D is providing tools for representing data online in 3-D. In relation to the 3-D environment, the question of dynamic self-representation becomes urgent. Avatars based on concrete online information are an option on the Konsum Art_Server. By displaying multiple identities—aka, a variety of 'nixes shells, from IRIX, Sun OS, Linux, Free/Net BSDees, etc.—directly into the 3D environment as aesthetic experience, the ASCII text layer of the net is brought into the texture of Web3D.

#Konsum Art_Server#
Konsum.net is an artists’ server founded by Max Moswitzer and Margarete Jahrmann in 1996. The idea of setting up a linux box as server made it possible to let experimental scripts run and to become independent of institutions, to be able to use the server itself as art material.
Radio FRO
arsradio 99
Radio FRO is a free, non-commercial radio, terrestrially on-the-air at frequency 105.0 in Linz and vicinity. Aside from various art projects, Radio FRO is distinguished by its open access.

Radio FRO is once again producing ”arsradio” as a ’round-the-clock accompaniment to the Ars Electronica Festival 99. Furthermore, the attempt will be made this year to present the expert discourse on a level that makes it comprehensible to our on-site audience.

Open access applies to artists as well, of course. Those wishing to participate can do so on their own initiative in the open channel, or by submitting topics to the open FROzine editorial staff.
Art of Work is a recruitment agency for artists.
It will place practicing artists in temporary positions with companies that subscribe to the new Human Resource Management(HRM) theory of Creative Capital(CC). Artists are a valuable commodity in this new work paradigm, where flexibility, creativity and open office architecture are seen as the keys to bigger profits. Art Of Work (AOW) is introducing the concept of work resource mismanagement into the jargon of new management theory.

It's a revolutionary concept that encourages employees to utilize work resources (i.e. databases, reports, memos, franking machines, tape + video recordings, and so on), redirecting them into other realms beyond the workplace.
Laura Bellof
Work in Progress
The topic of my piece-in-progress is hysteria and boredom. Both of these concepts are considered to be mental states which are reflected upon and seen in a person’s behavior. They are also considered to be ”maladies” intrinsic to women. An example of Sigmund Freud’s ideas of the nature of hysterical symptoms: a hysterical symptom arises as a compromise between two opposing affects or instinctual trends, of which one is attempting to express a partial impulse or component of the sexual constitution, while the other tries to suppress it. Patricia Mayer Spacks writes in her book Boredom—The Literary History of a State of Mind, that boredom opposes desire. More precisely than repulsion, the negative form of desire, it constitutes desire’s antithesis, assuring its victim of the utter impossibility of wishing for anything at all.

My piece will consist of a stereographic video projection and a spatial interface. The stereographic image will create an optical illusion of three dimensional depth. The physical place is transformed and projected illusory spaces appear ”inside” it. The projected image is a representation of a situation. The interaction between the piece and the viewer will cause another (technical) situation, which effects the event seen in the image.
Rossi [Gerald] Rossbacher
rob4UT3ch is an independent art label through which works of art that can be fabricated as products are offered for sale. I invite artists to make their works available to the public through this label, or to develop motifs for a line of T-shirts.
However, the seriousness of this on-line catalog is called into question by the absurdity of the artworks that it offers. I regard rob4UT3ch as a tool, as a work of art, and as an extension of the objects which are up for sale.
Olia Lialina
Do you know that modern and media art museums are collecting net art?
Have you visited recent on-line net art exhibitions or competitions?
Did you notice the curators have a tendency to present works of net art in a window with the specification location=”No”?
Why do you think they want to hide the location field and URL of the work?
Maybe they think the location bar contains only technical information and has nothing to do with art?
Maybe they think net art is a browser-adopted version of interactive art? • Is net art simply animated gifs, JavaScripts and hyperlinks?
Do they want to neglect the only parameter which protects copyright?
What do you think?
Do you want to participate in an exhibition which emphasizes the nature of net art?
Will the integrity of your artwork be compromised if it is exhibited off-line?
Is the artwork complete if it exists only ”in window”? Will it lose any meaning if location=”No”?
Do your artworks experiment with networked technologies other than the WWW?
We're producing a show called: Location=”Yes”
Do you have any proposals?