Ars Electronica 1991
Festival-Program 1991
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Festival 1979-2007



'Leo Schatzl Leo Schatzl

'Every technology produces and programs a specific accident.' (Leo Schatzl)
Speed and mobility prove their substances on the coordinates time and space both containing randomness as an essential element.

Speed not only is dependent on the strength of the moving object (subject?), on distance, expended and invested energy, not only on air resistence and friction and all the other physical phenomenons. It is at least as much determined by the randomness of a possibility of movement. Speed is chaos, mobility the attempt of order.

For (loco)motion is not always permitted, though it may be wanted and nothing is there to be said against it from the point of view of a free decision. Chaotic effects like back coupling or self reference have their effects, and control which never can be absolute is more a random principle than prerequisite for speed.

Mobility can be seen as the use of a chosen speed which at the same time is dependent on other factors such as the social, mental, physical, economical constitution of the one who can/must/wants to be mobile. The mobile object doesn't exist. It lacks competence of decision which is a requirement for being mobile.

Cars are not mobile, they are movable at the most. Their movement may be executed with highest speed, their course be controlled, their direction, starting point and destination be determined. But not the marks left by the cars when itinerant, braking, losing oil or swirling dust. At least of all that an accident's traces can be determined even if putative control is steering the impact. The randomness of the traces in the end makes control superfluous, nevertheless we are trying hard to determine the voyage and its traces. We do not want the accident.

But what, when it happens after all? Then at least we want to KEEP HOLD of it, record it, store it. A small control of the object's course seems to be necessary. Then we are able to SEE the accident, control it: frame by frame, recorded in pictures of thousandth of seconds.

The moment of collision, (stylized as ritual) leaves its marks on the smooth material which starts to harden, slowly, a quasi geological process which at the same time becomes an archeological material for giving information about its cultural environment: the culture of accident and of the attempt to handle it.

The electronic images and fossilized traces of the accident ritual are objects and signs objected by the artist to a world of movement.
"If all is moving, all is accident at the same time, and our existences as metabolic vehicle may be summarized as a series of collisions and traumata. They first had something of slow and perceptible affections, but then through the impetus they receive became deadly shocks, fire apotheosises, but before all they became new points of view."
(Paul Virilio, 1980)
Katharina Gsöllpointner