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Egg cream. Happy easter. The Dutch mountains are starting to bloom, the
snow is melting in Berlin, Parisiennes are sitting in the sun, Europe is
waking up after a long dreary winter. In this long weekend we serve you
an extra snack to go along with your brunch. Last but not least cream
presents you two quite different writers, writers who also presented
their views on net art criticism in Amsterdam last January. Instead of
serving you the texts they presented then both writers have chosen to
share some thoughts and events of the aftermath with you. Frederic Madre
continues his exploration and presentation of the way he experiences the
on line world and its connections to the physical. Tilman Baumgärtel
shares a contemplation with us, thoughts coming to him while strolling
through the Dutch rijksmuseum, the museum where all the Dutch masters
(Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Vermeer etc) can be found. Here's your easter
cream. Bon appetit.


This is an Outro to my presentation in Amsterdam, January 25th 2002.  As
a writer it was good to talk you through a web site, read on:

The internet is not artist friendly. There is no space to cover up with
announcements for art or the art itself or your CVs made up of the
announcements for the art or the art itself and the critics' writings
about the art and sometimes the announcements themselves, there are
instead infinitely reconfigurable places hosting desire and pain and
lust and animated gifs of felix the cat, thinking. There is no
interactivity to organize, there is no navigation to reinvent, there are
no interfaces to be written, the delinearization is always new and
unpredictable, it just happens outside of your reach, uncontrollable by
you it comes from each and every internet user that machetes his way
thru the Gigabytes of decontextualized information. The link is a hole
thru which all meaning drops again and again, renewed at every click
made up of the desire of the visitor lured by the text or image that
covers the gaping hole of the link. The visit is the context and you
must yield all control to it for its mystery cannot be yours. The
context always remains outside your reach, you can merely hope to twitch
it with a clever link.

That's it. A critic must be feared, a critic must be respected. My
position as a net-critique exists only because I once stated that I
occupied this position. If you come unto what I do from a certain link
in a certain frame of mind you will see what I do as net criticism, if
you follow a link from what I do in a certain frame of mind you will see
what I have done, what you are just leaving, as net criticism. All of us
thrive to be micro stars here. I put forward the Good and the Bad. Top
of the Good, Top of the bad, going hand in hand and two by two, linked
back to back. Carl Steadman and Alexei Shulgin share a beer, I listen to
the conversation. To be feared is to be sure of yourself and never
flinger or fail, to be respected is to be feared. Later I am asked what
"are your criterias"; I juggle with Street Cred. I believe in the buzz
specially when it comes from myself. I buy 200 records a year, I surf
200 web sites a week, I know what it is and we all understand what we
love instantly or we go away. Any further explanation destroys the
meaning itself.  What is essential is evident. I put forward what I
hate, street cred is also the suss of knowing your enemies better than
your allies and also that your enemy knows what you feel. The artists
are not your friends, none of them, never. It's good to talk with your
enemy, the best way to amplify the buzz of the Good.

You are not a failed artist, you can be a micro star too. Follow this
link and you shall fall, build this link and you will know how it feels
to be a star for twenty-five people. It is even better than to be a star
for two million consumers that you do not know, or three thousand to
which you can dictate your interface, your navigation, your CV, your
announcements. Go away. My fifteen minutes of talk are up, the pages on
the web remain forever transformable, to be misinterpreted at will and
this is good, this is how it was to be; "and I like it.".

Happy drunkards in the net art lobby at 4 am we talk again, Jo+Di and
the little kid is sleeping high on milk. We are talking of having lived
the net life and living it still when Tilman walks in, he has rented a
bike and we drink some more and talk some more of this net life, of what
is good and what is bad, of all the others out there. We push each other
drunks up the steep staircase.  It was good to talk. Now go away, let's
fall together. Where are the net art groupies?    Images from Creem Magazine, Words from
«Bad Boy Nietzsche» by Richard Foreman.
Thank you.


        Media Art from the century 

        Tilman Baumgärtel 

        At the round-table talk that precedes the panel on internet art
and art criticism at De Balie in Amsterdam, Harwood talks about old
masters. How he started to study the techniques of the oil painters from
the and century when he worked on "Uncomfortable Proximity,
his "mongrelized" version of the Web site of the Tate Gallery
( How he found
out that these painter used state-of-the-art equipment and paint that
was made according to the latest chemical discoveries. How this was not
so different from what artists like him do today. "Media Art from the century", I say to myself. 

        The next day I have an epiphany: I am standing in front of a
dutch still life in the Rijksmuseum that I dutifully visited. And all of
a sudden and for the first time in my life I CAN SEE how the painter
made the grapes on the plate look three-dimensional. He put little white
dots on top of the blue round shape of the grapes. If you look very
closely you can think of these elements as a two abstract shapes. Only
if you move away from the pictures the abstract shapes turn again into
grapes with tiny, little reflections of light on top of them. The grapes
outshine most of the other objects on the plate. If you move closer
again, you see this kind of technique used on the wine glass (the square
structure, that is half red and half gray) and the bottle (the green
object with the roundish red shape on it). They are all covered with
little white dots that make the flat fields of paint look like well
rounded 3-D-Objects. 

        I never studied art history, so these optical tricks are
completely new to me. I must have looked at this type of paintings a
zillions times, without noticing any of this. This effect might be an
outcome of some scientific break-through at the time, or it might be due
to the painter fooling around with his paint. But all of a sudden, this
painting seems so high-tech to me. This is media art from the 18.
century, a breathtaking mastery of the medium of paint. If the white dot
would be a bit flatter or not exactly in this location it would blow the
whole illusion of spatiality. Wow. 

        I wonder if I have ever seen this precise use of one's artistic
means in contemporary media art from the 21. century. I wish I would. It
is amazing to see how refined working with a particular medium can
become, when it has been practiced for centuries and centuries. Compared
with that sophistication most media art look like cave paintings. Well,
cave paintings have their beauty, too. 


cream is an experimental collaboration of writers and curators in the
field of net art. You can subscribe to cream and we invite you to
forward this mail to anybody you feel might be interested in the content
of cream.

Contributors to cream: Saul Albert, Inke Arns, Tilman Baumgaertel,
Josephine Bosma, Sarah Cook, Florian Cramer, Steve Dietz, Katharina
Gsöllpointner, Frederic Madre, Robin Murphy, Tetsuo Kogawa, Sarah


cream would not be possible without the work and hospitality of the
House of Laudanum, .