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                     cream  * 9 *


Aaah... yummy, fresh cream! It was about time. Dive in. After a few
months of wonderful navel gazing it is time to get to work. Winter is
long gone, summer is already showing itself at the horizon, let's get
started before it's that darned holiday season again! This issue of cream
is dedicated to new art works. Ballettikka Internettikka by Igor
Stromajer is not completely new: this project has been developing since
approximately Februari 2001. It has come to a temporary conclusion last
month though. Minute by Minute by Desperate Optimists by Desperate
Optimists is a collaborative project from the UK. Recursive Transition
Knot by Keith Tyson is not net art, but it is definitely net art
related. But what is net art anyway? Get your spoons out again: have
this month's cream.



Sarah Cook: Minute by Minute
Josephine Bosma: Ballettikka Internettikka pt 2
Saul Albert: Recursive Transition Knot


Minute by Minute

by Sarah Cook

On April 19, Desperate Optimists launched their new collaborative web
project Minute by Minute. Best known for their "web-soap", Map50
(, set in North East London which began in February of
2001, Desperate Optimists (Joe Lawlor and Christine Malloy) are both
committed to the idea of site-specificity on the net, and on developing
the skill-base of their artist collaborators (here in the field of
digital video making). While Map50 was time-based, with new streamed
video episodes of the soap (created by artists with only a scant
description of the plot line they were supposed to be following)
launching at different times, Minute by Minute has gone online all at
once: 8 artists have created 3 one-minute films each about a particular
street or area of Newham, East London. The navigation of Map50 is more
sophisticated than this year’s offering - it worked both through space
(the map of east London), through time (the chronological 9 episodes of
the soap opera) and through style (by the end you could watch all the
episodes by one artist, or watch subsequent episodes by each of the 7
artists). In the case of Minute by Minute, each artist has a page on
which appears a short text about the location or making of the three
films. Each film launches in a separate frame which includes a text box
of contextual or suggestive notations of varying quality and necessity.
Desperate Optimists write that the films "had to conform to a series of
strict rules inspired by the original Lumiere Brother films" and that as
a result the geography of Newham is the "backdrop to create an engaging,
refreshing and multi-layered website - a world unto itself - that offers
a feast for the imagination of streaming video, images, text and sound."
While I love some of the videos (which range from glitchy and gritty
security camera-ish, ambient narratives to dreamy landscapes with
voice-over diaries; my favourites including those by Gillian Wylde and
Simon Aeppli), I couldn’t help but think that the site could have been
more dynamic - there is no separate streaming image, text or audio other
than that edited into the videos themselves. Nevertheless, it is a fine
outcome from DO’s continuing efforts to tie the placelessness of the web
to the actual architectural and geographic space of their city,
something it seems UK net art is particularly good at.


Claiming the Stage: Ballettikka Internettikka pt 2

by Josephine Bosma

The work of Slovenian artist Igor Stromajer is amongst the most
innovative and at the same time classical net art around. Andreas
Broeckman, director of the Berlin Transmediale festival, described it
once as "classical net art conceptualism". Yet the work of Stromajer
does reach beyond where other net artists tend to stop. Igor Stromajer
is one of those net artists who are not afraid to take the conceptual
space of net art outside the technological space of the internet or the
world wide web.
Ballettikka Internettikka could be seen as a follow up to Stromajer's
Oppera Teorettikka Internettikka from 1999. This work developed out of
the desire to present internet projects in a different way then the
usual lecture at a conference. It was a small step for the former
theatre man (1) Stromajer to move from singing - to dancing html code.
One other reason behind the development of Ballettikka Internettikka was
the desire to support the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow (2) and the wish to
interfere in the almost mythical status of this same theatre. Stromajer:
"It's the top place for dancing and we wanted to demystify it. I wanted
to dance there as a non-dancer and was dancing there in the name of all
the ballet dancers world-wide: all of them who cannot dance in the
Bolshoi, but would like to, because the Bolshoi is an international
symbol for classical ballet." The new political situation has brought
changes to Russian cultural politics as well, but like with the Kremlin,
it is hard to change a bulwark like the Bolshoi. "The new general
director of the Bolshoi theatre, Anatoliy Iksanov, told the press in
Moscow that he would like to include new dynamics into his theatre.",
says Stromajer, "Well, Ballettikka would certainly be an opportunity for
him." But despite Ballettikka Internettikka pt 1 winning the first prize
at the Media Forum festival in Moscow in 2001 and a sufficient budget
for the project to which the Bolshoi would not have had to add anything
the famous Moscow ballet theatre never reacted to the letters from the
artist and he had to change his strategy. It was decided to perform in
the Bolshoi illegally and still 'transmit' this live via the net. March
28th 2002 Igor Stromajer and 'mp3 conductor' MC Brane entered the
Bolshoi theatre via a basement window, after first having been stopped
at the main entrance with bags full of equipment.
The eleven minutes of live webcasting were watched by more then 400
people. An amazing amount, which even the artist did not expect. Not
only did they see Igor Stromajer dancing, but they also saw the
conductor of the 'mp3 orchestra' - as Stromajer calls MC Brane - who
ironically conducted the mp3's on his laptop like a true Herbert von
Karajan. The video of the whole event catches the excitement of the
event well. Shot in black and white it leaves one a bit with the feeling
of watching an avant-garde performance straight from the early twentieth
century, if it weren't for the laptops and mobile phones of course. Both
dancer and conductor wear a kind of miners light on their heads. The
movements of the light, the speed and accuracy of the operation, the
bare abandoned basement and the concentrated moves by Stromajer and MC
Brane create a sense of conspiracy that replaces the so called
interactivity of on line art without it being missed. In a way it is
still there, in the intimacy of the small circle of people who watch
this event live, while the management of the Bolshoi theatre watches a
classical ballet upstairs. A wonderful project, enchanting and funny.

(1)     See an interview with Igor Stromajer dated may 2000

(2)     See first announcement of Ballettikka Internettikka on the
Syndicate mailinglist:

Ballettikka Internettikka :


Review of "Recursive Transition Knot" - Keith Tyson.

by Saul Albert

If IKEA manufactured a hatchback-sized oak games compendium, designed by
mescaline-addled obsessives, this is what it would look like.

The lid lifts revealing a whiteboard covered in neatly handwritten,
maniacally complex instructions. After removing and unpacking the oak
limbs of the RTK from the box and slotting the intricately carved
'sluice cubes' into the green-baize covered 'portals', the mutated
gaming table is ready for use. The instructions allow for all manner of
unlikely conceptual inputs (e.g.. the first blue thing you see after
turning on the television), and subject them to a series of tangled
transformations before producing a design which gallery technicians can
then assemble using available materials. The reified outputs of this
process are scattered around the box, threatening to infest the gallery
with a gaudy swarm of anti-aesthetic misfits.

This is a flat-pack version of the diagrams, flowcharts and processes
that Tyson has been using since '95 in the production of an ongoing
series of "Art Machine" works.

By using "Art Machine" work in major shows, Tyson is gambling
dangerously with his salability. His lack of a recognisable style or
media-preference, and the constant deferral of authorship to the
anti-biographical processes of computation and randomness, are
delicately counterbalanced with sudden, intimate signatures, juicy
autobiographical gossip leaked out in the press, and the occasional
production of a beauty-fetish object that will obviously sell very
expensively and very quickly. Finely balancing the craftsmanship and
conceptual narrative of work like the 'Recursive Transition Knot'
against the abject anti-narrative of the objects it produces, forces
viewers to approach all his work very carefully. No viewer wants to
discover they have accidentally ascribed biographical or intellectual
depths to a non-authored object, and no collector wants to discover they
have bought the result of a random, and often quite silly process.

Although Tyson can program (in Prolog), has used computers in his work,
and constantly uses terminology such as algorithm, tolerance, vector,
and software to describe his practice, he is not limited by being
techno-centric. During an artist's lecture at St. Martin's in 1997,
instead of talking about his work literally, he drew a network diagram
outlining the hubs and protocols of reputation in the art system and
talked for 40 minutes about how to analyse and work that system from
leaving college to getting work bought by a national museum. It is this
understanding of the networks and systems of art that Tyson uses to
manipulate and increase his art-world value. That is the game he enjoys,
and within that game, being defined as a 'net artist' is not an

The Recursive Transition Knot will be part of Keith Tyson's show at the
Kunsthalle in Zurich from the 13th April - 2nd June 2002

* "replicators" at adaweb. -


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
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