End of the Year 2016, Beginning of 2017

published: 
November, 2016

After following the development of art and culture in the context of the Internet since 1993 I am still fascinated: there seems to be no end to the sometimes surprising transformations in art and art criticism in this ever expanding field. The boundaries between media art and contemporary art, if they ever existed, are dissolving. Let's enjoy it together.

                    

            First two pages of my interview with Jonas Lund in Kunstforum 243: Postdigital 2 (Nov 2016)

 

After a very busy summer with lots of travelling autumn seems to bring calmer times. I gave a presentation at Nieuwe Vide in Haarlem in the WIFI, Connectivity and Digital Utopia exhibition. After a long delay the Kunstforum Postdigital specials finally came out, with my essay Post-Screen and my interview with Jonas Lund in Postdigital 2. You can read the English version here. On Friday the 25th of November I am the host of the Crypto Design Challenge Award Show at Paradiso in Amsterdam. Somewhere around new year I plan to go see the first large solo exhibition by the artist duo Evelina Domnitch and Dmytri Gelfand at Le Lieu Unique in Nantes, which runs until January 8th 2017. Then I hope to see you at Transmediale in February, which promises to be a very special 30 year birthday edition! I am particularly looking forward to seeing the exhibition Alien Matter curated by Inke Arns. In between I work on new interviews, developing plans for new events and, last but not least, restarting my PhD. Hopefully, with the Dutch elections happening in March, there will be enough peace of mind for all of us to realize our hopes and dreams.

 

End of 2015, beginning of 2016

                 

 Image from The Possibility of an Army by Constant Dullaart (2015)   &  The Weise 7 Book (2012)

The year 2016 approaches fast and it is time to post another update. 2015 has been quite intense and busy. In the pictures above you see work of the two winners of the Prix Net Art 2015, Constant Dullaart and Weise 7, for which I was one of the jurors together with curators Domenico Quaranta and Chrissie Iles. You can read the jury report here. Earlier in the year I was also on the jury of the Blink Youngblood Award, a prize for best work in the selection of graduation works by art students. The other jury members Gerben Willers and Vanessa Evers and me decided on the work of Nono Groenen, a graduate of Artez Enschede. In the summer I went to the CCC hacker camp, where the plan was born to have an art village in the next Dutch hacker camp SHA in 2017. Keep an eye out for the call for participation for this village, which should appear sometime next year. As for the next few months: it looks like I will take part in a mini-conference on value creation during the Entropical exhibition by Debra Solomon and Jaromil Rojo at Zone2Source in February. Other activities are on the way but still need to be confirmed. I will keep you posted!

Summer and Fall 2015

                                             

         From Google Images series by Artyom Kocharyan, graduate Piet Zwart Media Design 2015

 

It is graduation time at the moment I am writing this, and it is great to see that despite the crisis and funding cuts so many young people still have the guts to become artists. I have seen a few very promising ones over the past days! Next up is the summer break. You will (if all goes well) find me at the Chaos Community Camp, a hacker camp in the countryside near Berlin, in August. As always there will be workshops, talks and meeting old and new friends. Right after that, on Sunday August 23rd, I will be moderating artist talks at the SMBA exhibition Algorithmic Rubbish: Daring to Defy Misfortune. I will be talking with Constant Dullaart, Femke Herregraven and artist collective Template. In the meantime I have been asked to be on the jury of the Prix Net Art 2015, a generous art award initiated by the New York based art initiative Rhizome, Chronus Art Center and Tsinghua Art and Science Media Laboratory. You can nominate artists for this prize until August 17th! The winner will be announced in November.

Spring 2015

 

                     

                      Image created through Artomat, an online art generator by Electroboutique

The coming months are filled with writing and a few appearances in panels and talks. I am working on an essay for the German magazine Kunstforum for their Post-Digital theme. For that same magazine I am preparing an interview with Jonas Lund. On May 22nd and 23rd you can find me in MAMA in Rotterdam for a two day event around art and the Internet. I will be in a panel discussing what Post-Internet art and its potential for addressing the merging of digital and analog culture with Florian Cramer and Geert Lovink the first day. The discussion will be moderated by Michelle Kasprzak, curator at V2. That same afternoon I will moderate a discussion between Jonas Lund, Rafaël Rozendaal and Joel Holmberg. A week later, May 29th, I will conduct an onstage interview with Electroboutique at the Twente Biennale.

Interview with Jonas Lund - I was never digital to begin with

published: 
November, 2016

 The Swedish artist Jonas Lund combines media art deconstruction strategies with contemporary art practices. This results in works that are often participatory, conceptual, or performance-based. In his work Lund easily moves between online and offline systems, and between technological and socio-cultural constructs, all the while working the analogies that bind them. He first got international recognition in 2013 with his first solo exhibition the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), at the Rotterdam art initiative MAMA. For this show Lund created an elaborate analytical software system that told him how to construct each piece in the exhibition, with title and all, based on work by the top-selling artists of the time.

                                  

                                   Jonas Lund - Selfportrait

Software and network are basic properties of Jonas Lund’s praxis, both materially and conceptually. Some examples: in 2011 Lund made Blue Crush, a typical net art work in which blue pop up windows take over and crash the browser, and In Search of Lost Time, a Twitter version of the book by Proust, in which the book is broken down in 140 character sections tweeted over the course of 6,5 years. In 2012 he made The Paintshop.biz, a combination of interactive website, paintshop and website, in which people could design, print and sell their own paintings. The same year Lund also wrote an algorithm for a performance on Facebook called 1,164,041 Or How I Failed In Getting The Guinness World Book Of Record Of Most Comments On A Facebook Post. In the pivotal year 2013 Lund went from creating works like Paint Your Own Pizza (for Eyebeam), a work that was very similar to The Paintshop.biz, to almost completely dedicating himself to handling the art world as a system after his graduation. Lund commented on the art market already in 2011 with the spam inspired work Collection Enlargement and with several other works since. With his first solo show Jonas Lund however moved from the commentator position to that of the hacker, engineer, or systems architect.

Summer and Fall 2016 - News

Dear visitor: the content of this website is not ordered according to date of production. I add older texts and interviews from my archive in between newer writings from time to time. I have been a bit slack with updating the last few years, so if there is anything you are looking for and cannot find contact me. You can find my contact details on my info page.

                                 

                                  Dennis de Bel and Roel Roscam Abbing - Feline Filesharing (2014)

At the end of summer it is time for another news update. There is a major revival of interest for all things art and Internet related. I was unexpectedly in a discussion panel about net art at the Spike Magazine headquarters in Berlin. A transcript of the discussion is to appear in the next issue of Spike. It was surprising to find myself in a packed room and with many great artists in the audience, some of whom stepped in to make it a very lively debate. After this I went to Sri Lanka to take part in the young Colomboscope festival. I was impressed by the exhibition curator Susanne Jaschko put together, with many local artists making work which sometimes caused fierce debate in local blogs. Next up is the GOGBOT festival (8-11 Sept), for which I act as co-curator this year. I have curated a small tribute to Dutch generative art pioneer Remko Scha at Tetem, including a concert by composer and poet Samuel Vriezen. Next to this there will be the first installation by Cold Void (collaboration of filmmaker Luuk Bouwman and net artist Rafaël Rozendaal) and a symposium about the Post-Singularity theme with Florian Cramer, Vanessa Evers, Vesna Manojlovic, and Jochem van der Spek. More things in the pipeline are a lecture I give on October 22nd at the upcoming Wifi, Connectivity and Digital Utopianism exhibiton at the Nieuwe Vide (9 Sept-23 Oct) in Haarlem, which among others includes the work of Dennis de Bel and Roel Roscam Abbing. Plus Kunstforum's Post-Digital edition is finally, after much delay, appearing this November. There will be two Kunstforum editions dedicated to the theme of Post-Digital, for which I wrote an essay and made an interview with artist Jonas Lund. There are vague plans to visit the NEoN festival, curated by Sarah Cook, in Dundee in November. After this hopefully there will be time to get back to some necessary writing.

Spring and Summer 2016

Dear visitor: the content of this website is not ordered according to date of production. I add older texts and interviews from my archive in between newer writings from time to time. I have been a bit slack with updating the last few years, so if there is anything you are looking for and cannot find contact me. You can find my contact details on my info page.

                                

Chelsea Manning blanket by DIS collective in Whistleblower & Vigilanten - Figuren des digitalen Widerstands at HMKV in Dortmund, until 14 August.

Spring is finally here and it is time for an update. The interesting exhibitions to visit just keep coming. The picture above is from a very odd but exciting exhibition at the HMKV that is very worthwhile the visit. Friday the 20th of May an exhibition of Jon Rafman opens at the Stedelijk in Amsterdam. I will give a short talk, a 'column', at the opening. Aside from this I am mainly working on a small tribute exhibition to the late Remko Scha, which will open mid July in TETEM, Enschede. It will part of the GOGBOT festival that starts two months later mid September. For this I also organize the symposium. But first I will go to a new festival in Sri Lanka called Cinnamon Colomboscope, in late August, early September, curated by Susanne Jaschko. More news will follow, since other things are still in the pipeline.

Olia Lialina - 20 Years of My Boyfriend Came Back From The War

In March I went to see My Boyfriend Came Back From The War at MU Gallery, Eindhoven. I wrote a review, which I then left on the shelf for too long, because I got distracted. It is worth publishing though, because writing it forced me to think about the very turbulent nineties and their aftermath again. It made me mull over how art on the Internet has evolved and specifically on how individual works live on and gain new meanings many years later. In some ways seeing this exhibition was like meeting an old friend and, though still feeling the love, having to find your place in its new life.     

                       

                        Olia Lialina at MU, photo courtesy MU Gallery

Winter 2016 - The start of a new year - news

                       

Jaromil Rojo and Debra Solomon, Entropical, Zone2source, Amsterdam, 2015. Photo courtesy Florian Weigl.

These are interesting times: the year starts off with many exhibitions focussing on the crossover field of art, science and technology. The often criticized gap between the contemporary art field and that of media art (or AST, Art, Science and Technology) seems to be closing. The question is what this will mean for the acknowledgment of earlier work in the latter field. There is a lot of catching up to do! Luckily there are many occasions to talk about classic and new works this year. February is packed with events where we could meet and discuss. First up is Transmediale from 2 till 7 February. On February 5th I will be joining the Telekommunisten in their Panic Room session. There will be many other interesting sessions to follow, like for example that on the Tactical Media Archive. A few days after Transmediale TEC ART opens in the 'institute for avantgarde recreation' WORM, Rotterdam. Part of the opening is a public presentation and debate about what art and life would be like in a Post-Singularity world. The next morning, on Thursday 11 February at 11.00, I will be in an hour long discussion with cultural sociologist Pascal Gielen in the Reflections series at Art Rotterdam. The Sunday after that, on Valentine's Day, I have been invited to speak about the value of art in a mini-symposium at Zone2source, for the exhibition of Entropical by Jaromil Rojo and Debra Solomon. Other speakers include Merijn Oudenampsen and Koert van Mensvoort. Last but not least the topic of conservation is to be addressed at Transformation Digital Art organized by LIMA on 18 and 19 February. I will present a brief introduction to art in networks on the Thursday evening in a session with also Rafaël Rozendaal and Eric Kluitenberg.

Excerpt Nettitudes: Context and Cultural Identity: Brian Mackern

 

I often get requests for digital versions of my book. Unfortunately I cannot put the entire book online, but I can publish excerpts. Here is an part of chapter two, which is called Levels, Spheres and Patterns. In this chapter I discuss the many 'layers' at which the Internet is used in art. The following excerpt deals with the conceptual layer, which I call context. I discuss a book by Urugayan artist Brain Mackern, who decided to close off a crumbling archival project of Latin American net art by documenting it in book form: The netart_latino database.

                    

The Future is Unknown – I am the Future

published: 
January, 2015

In January 2013 I was a writer in residence at Quartier21 in Vienna, in the preparation for the Faceless exhibition, curated by Bogomir Doringer, that would be shown there later in the year. Faceless focusses on the trend of hiding the face in art and fashion. This short essay was written for the catalog, which is yet to appear. The text reflects on how identity is shaped through a historical reflection of the self in a social context, as experienced through tools and media. The work of four artists (or artist groups) serves as illustrations.

                                

Life in Cultural Smog – On the Value of Junk, Leaks, Spills, and Noise

Spring 2014 I was invited to talk on a panel organized in Hito Steyerl's exhibition at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. Theme of the panel was 'circulationism', a term Steyerl uses for the online distribution of images. I was asked to speak about alternative networks, or rather, about the possibility for the creation of alternative networks after the revelations made by Snowden showed the Internet is heavily surveilled by the NSA. In my talk I try to show alternative networks already exist, and will be very hard to erase or control completely by authorities.

                     

“The location of power - and the site of resistance - rest in an ambiguous zone without borders.” Critical Art Ensemble, The Electronic Disturbance,1994.

Will Work for Food - A studio visit to Karl Heinz Jeron

In the summer of 2008 I went to Berlin, where I visited the studio of artist Karl Heinz Jeron. From 1996 until 2003 Jeron had collaborated with Joachim Blank as Blank & Jeron. On their website sero.org Blank & Jeron presented early web projects such as Dump Your Trash from 1998, which invited the audience to submit web site addresses into an online form. The submitted website would be 'recycled' as if carved into a slab of stone. There was the option to actually order the website carved in stone. The influential text Introduction to Net.Art by Alexei Shulgin was immortalized this way. After having been among the main initiators of the Berlin digital city project Digitale Stadt Blank and Jeron separated ways on friendly terms. Blank now makes more sculptural works, while Jeron has, next to or overlapping with his online projects, moved into 'relational', performance, and conceptual art. This is a photo of one of his drawing robots in action. The robots are part of a work called 'Will Work for Food'. In this work the audience could request to be sent one of the drawing robots, and in return the audience would have to send the artist food in return. The robots played music while they worked. They could be made to sing either Happy Birthday or The Internationale.

Florian Cramer surprised by the Piet Zwart class of 2008

 The class of 2008 students of the media design course of the Piet Zwart Institute decided to thank course director Florian Cramer in a special way. They made a giant portait of his face from the back covers of the black and white books. Cramer was overwhelmed. In the background one of his students, Gordan Savicic, applauds. Other graduates that year were Danja Vasiliev, Linda Hilfling, Ricardo Lafuente, Annemieke van der Hoek, Ivan Monroy Lopez, Maria Karagianni, and Michael van Schaik.

Zine Fiends: Zinecamp at WORM May 2014

In the weekend of May 24-25 2014 a gathering of zine makers and zine lovers happened at WORM, the 'institute for avantgarde recreation' in Rotterdam. I dropped in to make a simple photo report.

                     

                      Overview of the Zinecamp space.

OMD: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark bij Arti et Amicitiae in Amsterdam

Hij werkt beter des avonds dan overdag, de expositie Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) in Arti et Amicitiea te Amsterdam. Het overdadige daglicht in de grote zaal verdringt alle duisternis, waardoor de meer donkere tonen van de expositie aan kracht inboeten. Toch blijft deze vierde expositie van curator, kunstenaar, DJ, en flamboyante persoonlijkheid Martin C. de Waal overeind. De expositie brengt een ode aan eigenzinnigheid en individualiteit in deze tijd van crisis waarin nationalisme en conservatisme soms welig lijken te tieren.

 

 

Post-Digital is Post-Screen - Towards a New Visual Art

published: 
October, 2013

This essay was written for the Post-Digital research conference in the Kunsthal Aarhus, which was a collaboration between Aarhus University and the Transmediale festival in Berlin.

 

 

Beyond net.art - escaping network nihilism in media art criticism

published: 
May, 2002

In 2002 I was invited to speak at the Reality Check for Cyber Utopias conference in Zagreb, organized by MAMA, the Croatian media lab. I decided to talk about the way art is approached in many media art contexts, something I elaborate on almost ten years later in my book Nettitudes. I make a plea for a different view of both net art and media art, and defend the legitimacy of all contemporary art practices that involve the Internet.

Outdoor installation at the Technorganic festival organized by Cary Peppermint and Leila Christine Nadir in 2005.

Caricatures of Knowbotic Research: jodi

published: 
October, 2002

 

In 2002 the Dutch Belgian artist duo Jodi (Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans) had their first big solo exhibition at Plug-In gallery in Basel. In preparation of the text I met up with the artists, and it became clear they wanted me to write a light text. They came up with the title themselves: Caricatures of Knowbotic Research. Knowbotic Research is a German-Swiss electronic art group, known for their extensive collabortions with media art labs and technologically complex works.  

 

Catalogue cover of install.exe, ed. Tilman Baumgärtel 

The space of net art

published: 
October, 2001

 

In 2001 I was asked to give a talk at NCC48, a rather curious 48 hour nonstop congress in a cave in Graz, Austria. I decided to present my very own thoughts on net art, after I felt many words had been put in my mouth by others. The hype and noise around net art had produced an almost impossible climate to discuss this new art context seriously. Needless to say my words hardly impressed anyone. Today it turns out I was right: more 'users' creates more mainstream art behavior; artists have started to explore the broader virtual field of the network (which is translated in 'new' theories from post-Internet to New Aesthetic);  and art institutions are very, very slowly exploring their new expanded field of influence. For your information: the open letter by Jon Ippolito I am referring to here criticized the possibility for art institutions to be able to get a .museum domain (instead of a .org or .com suffix), posted on the nettime mailing list in December 2000.

Today I would have to add some words to the last paragraph though, to be clear. I am NOT saying the Internet is a conceptual space, but I am saying that to think about art and the internet it is necessary to let go of simplistic and outdated notions of the Internet as a purely technological, singular medium. Quote: "So the 'web of possibilities', which is in the expanded virtual space of the combination of technology and humans is the true basis of net art. One could say the ability to see beyond the purely technical environment produces a new kind of abstraction in art."

Picture of the entrance to Dom im Berg, the cave in which the NCC48 congress was held

The Best of 386DX

published: 
October, 2001

This review of Alexei Shulgin's music and data CD was originally written for Rhizome in 2001. For those unfamiliar with the 'band' or the name, a 386DX is an old type computerchip, the Intel 80386 developed in 1985.

The Interior of Net Art

published: 
January, 2002

 


The question of how to exhibit net art came up strongly in 1997. It became clear that some works were actually interesting for a traditional, offline art audience. In the beginning it seemed that exhibiting net art in a physical space was an anomaly, something contradictive to the nature and background of the attitude from which net art sprung. The online communities a lot of net art came out of refused to think of solutions for physical exhibitions, like they also found it very difficult (with some exceptions) to find a way to deal with question how to sell a net art work.

 

When I was approached by one of the net communities' most notorious members Frederic Madre to write a text for a tongue in cheeck woman's magazine I decided therefore to write a piece that was half satire half serious about how to deal with net art. In some sense one could say the text is metaphorical. By ridiculing the style of the average woman's magazine I compare the desire to own any art work (and also to exhibit it) to certain bourgois tendencies to use art in a semi-decorative way. We could ask ourselves whether our desire to own and present an art piece is ultimately more then a wish to exhibit our own cultural awareness in a fashionable way, like the American artist Cary Peppermint jokes in this text. The intangibility of most new media art and the impossibility to set limits to certain works force us having to face what exactly it is we want from art. Many do want something of art that seems missing: something to surround oneself with. Let's dive into the interior design of net art.

 

Interview with Cary Peppermint

published: 
April, 2001

 

This short interview is part of a small set of interviews I did for a semi-ironic text about net art in the home called 'The Interior of Net Art,' which is also on this site. The goal of the interview is to find out how artists working with the Internet think their work could be exhibited in physical space, and also whether they think it could be sold. These questions have been hovering around net art from the mid-nineties. The artists and art examples in 'The Interior of Net Art' show a great variety of apporaches and opinions.

The grammar and spelling errors in this interview are not accidental, but part of Peppermint's writing style at the time.

 

 

Short interview with Peter Luining

published: 
May, 2000

Peter Luining lives and works in Amsterdam. His net art is rather 'stylish', in the sense that compared to most net art it does not that clearly reflect on net culture and information. His work is more easthetic. A few years ago [1998] he was called 'the next generation Superbad', because of his particular use of imagery in combination with sound. Peter Luining was asked to curate an exhibition for a Dutch gallery called Planet Art, on the alternative artfair Kunstvlaai. He has gathered an interesting collection there. This interview concentrates mostly on his own work though.

Identiteit en Kunst in Computernetwerken

published: 
April, 2012

 

Lezing gegeven in Januari 2000 in SubK te Utrecht, ter gelegenheid van een avond over 'digipersonae'. 

 

De kunstenaar achter antiorp, Gheorghe Dan. 

 

Interview with Mez

published: 
May, 2000

 


Mary-Anne Breeze, better known as Mez, lives and works in Australia. She first got into a larger net.art picture in 1997, via the net.art mailinglist 7-11. Her work is highly 'textual', but expands to for instance sound as well. Considering the relationship between concrete poetry and music or sound this probably should come as no surprise. She likes to change her name a lot (mz post modemism, mezchine, ms Tech.no.whore, flesque, e-mauler, and mezflesque.exe), and maybe because of this, plus the nature of her work, she has a less clearly demarcated position then some other net.artists. This relative 'instability', compared to some highly compact web artworks, is one of the attractive sides of her work for me.

The Greater Cloud

[test] The exhibition The Greater Cloud at the NIMk (Nederlands Instituut voor Mediakunst) in Amsterdam is compiled by five different curators.

Interview with Ron Kuivila

published: 
March, 2000

 

[Kuivila in 1991, courtesy soundartarchive.net]

Sound artist Ron Kuivila was in a panel at V2 during the Rotterdam Film Festival in 2000, the other speakers being David Blair (Wax Web) and Martin Berghammer (specialist in games). He had the idea to have a net arts notation festival, and would very much like to see it realised. Somehow in the edit he himself made of the interview (I let people do it together with me usually) an interesting aspect of this was lost, namely that it would be very good to also look at which notations would/do -not- get realised and why. Notation/realisation has a long history in performance and music, and a slightly younger one in the visual arts.

 

Interview with Frederic Madre

published: 
November, 2000

Meeting Frederic Madre was a pleasant surprise. Madre had made himself notorious in a very short time by inventing something called a 'spam engine', to create spam art. These days spam (unsolicited advertising in emails) is annoying. In the nineties, when spam was much less pervasive, it was considered not only rude, but also damaging to the Internet. It takes up massive amounts of bandwidth, disrupting the flow of Internet traffic and increasing costs for providers and users.The controversy around spam was easily abused however, by people who wanted to eradicate voices and expression they did not approve of on online platforms. On the mailing list nettime for example it was used in a disagreement between artists and activist and academic users, about what could and could not be posted.

In the interview Madre explains how he uses spam art as a means to criticize the urge to oversanitize the Internet. Frederic Madre's spam engine and mailing list Palais Tokyo (for which it was most used) are some of the most interesting projects in French net art. Yet Madre also talks about his first years online, between 1992 and 1995, and his stories give another interesting view of how early net culture developed. Today Frederic Madre runs an indie record company, 'Bruit Direct'.  The photo below shows Madre with his youngest son.

 

Interview with RTMark

published: 
September, 1997

RTMark was the forerunner of the Yesmen. We met at Ars Electronica in 1997. Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno presented themselves as Ernesto Lucha and Francisco Gerrero, otherwise known as 'Frank and Ernest'. Their main focus was fighting the incredible power of corporations, which have the same rights as citizens in the United States. By removing the unfair protection this gives to corporations RTMark hoped to force them to act more responsibly.

 

Syndicate content