THE INTER-SOCIETY FOR THE ELECTRONIC ARTS ISEA NEWSLETTER ISSN1488-3635 #78 June - July 2000 _______________________________________________________________ * CONTENTS * * Editorial * ISEA News * News from Members * * Feature Articles: Musing on Net Art * Calls for Projects * _______________________________________________________________ *Une version francaise est disponible. Contactez le secretariat pour l'obtenir* ************************** EDITORIAL ************************** A RENEWAL OF LEADERSHIP AT ISEA As the President of ISEA, I am extremely pleased to announce the appointment of Katarina Soukup as Interim Director of the Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts. Katarina replaces Carlos Soldevila, who was briefly the Director of ISEA HQ. Carlos was offered a job he couldn't refuse in television, and it was with regret that he informed of us his departure. Katarina, whom you already know as the Editor of the ISEA Newsletter, joined ISEA in the position of International Relations and Research in January 1999. Since then, she has taken charge of developing ISEA's international community and its networks. In this vein, she initiated projects such as ChatterBox, a series of moderated discussions on ISEA-Forum dealing with different topics in the electronic arts. She is also responsible for the improvements and changes in the revamped ISEA Newsletter, and the development of the ISEA Archives Project. Following the departure of Carlos, she gradually took on the various dossiers related to the directorship, so it is only natural that her leadership became apparent within the ISEA team, among the ISEA Board and Committees, as well as within the community at large. In addition to her duties at ISEA, Katarina is an independent media artist, writer and radio broadcaster. Her radiophonic performance art has been presented in Canada (Studio XX, Galerie Articule), Austria (WUK), the Netherlands (Next 5 Minutes), the Czech Republic (CESTA), and most recently in Japan (Chukyo University). Her writing on media art and alternative media has been published in the USA, Canada, and Italy. She is also co-host of The Hearing Trumpet, an eclectic weekly programme of audio/radio art heard on community radio in Montreal, and via streaming audio on the world wide web. I have no doubt that ISEA will benefit from this appointment. Since joining the Montreal team, Katarina has shown great enthusiasm for the organization, demonstrating real commitment to its goals and mission, as well as the open-mindedness and professionalism required to ensure a solid Directorship. ISEA celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, and with ISEA2000 on the horizon, ISEA HQ could ill afford a lack of leadership. By resolution of the ISEA Board, therefore, Katarina Soukup will act as Interim Director until the end of this year, at which time an official mandate will be attributed. Katarina will be present at Siggraph 2000, during which members and friends of the organization will again be invited to attend an ISEA Gathering (see details in this edition of the Newsletter). Between now and then, please feel free to contact Katarina: email@example.com In this spirit of renewed leadership, ISEA would like to announce that there will be four openings on the ISEA Board of Directors, with mandates beginning in January 2001. It looks like the summer season at ISEA will be imbued the excitement of an electoral campaign! We invite all members to consider putting forth their candidacy, and to take advantage of a unique opportunity to be directly involved in the direction of the Inter-Society. The year 2000 marks the first 10 years of ISEA: we invite you to be among those who will help shape the organization's next 10 years! Alain Mongeau President ************************** ISEA NEWS ************************** BOARD ELECTIONS: 4 VACANCIES --+ Call for Candidates: ISEA Board of Directors +-- ISEA/Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts currently seeks interested candidates to serve on its Board of Directors. For terms beginning in the coming year (2001), there are 4 openings. This is an exciting opportunity to be apart of shaping the future development of an organization which has held a high profile in the electronic arts for over a decade. We are looking for candidates with vision, dynamism, and a committment to forwarding the goals and mission of ISEA. Before registering, potential candidates should carefully evaluate the time and interest they will be able to dedicate to active participation on the ISEA Board. Below you will find information on the Inter-Society, ISEA Board structure, duties of Board members, and the nomination form (you may nominate yourself). Candidates for the ISEA Board will be accepted until JULY 15, 2000. Elections for the available Board positions will take place via mail-in ballot to be distributed with ISEA Newsletter #79 at the beginning of August. The ISEA AGM during ISEA2000 (Paris, France December 7-10, 2000) will be the occasion for new Board members to be introduced to the membership, current members of the Board, and ISEA Staff. --- Please note! --- ONLY ISEA MEMBERS will be able to present themselves on the ballot. Non-members may submit a Board nomination form and register as an ISEA member at the same time. Please see our web site or email ISEA HQ for information on how to become an ISEA member. _________________________________________________________________ --+ ISEA Board Structure +-- The property and business of ISEA is managed by the Board of Directors of ISEA (the Board) which is comprised of at least 5 Directors to a maximum of 9, in addition to Ex-Officio Members who are previous organizers of ISEA symposium and the Executive Director. Each Board member is elected for a term of 3 years, and may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms. Board members serve on a voluntary basis, and positions are not remunerated. __________________________________________________________________ --+ Indication of Board Member Tasks and Terms +-- o Board members should act in the best interest of the ISEA network and its membership. o Board members shall collaboratively and actively promote and shape the future development of ISEA o Board members should promote creative and interdisciplinary convergences between art practice and technological developments. o The Board chooses the host organizations of future ISEA Symposia. o The Board appoints members to the Cultural Diversity and International Advisory Committees. o The Board and ISEA HQ shall keep regular contact by holding on-line meetings every 2 months to help manage, plan and develop ISEA. __________________________________________________________________ --+ ISEA's Mandate +-- Founded in the Netherlands in 1990, and now based in Montreal, Canada, ISEA is an international non-profit member organization dedicated to the promotion and development of the electronic arts. ISEA is commited to the interdisciplinary and cross-cultural communication/cooperation between the arts and the fields of technology, science, education, and industry. ISEA's activities include: organizing international symposia and local events, developing partnerships, implementing culturally diverse initiatives, publishing, and archiving. __________________________________________________________________ --+ Nomination Form +-- Please print this form, then send either by FAX or POST to the ISEA HQ office. Surname:__________________________ Given Name:_____________________________ Mailing Address______________________________________________________ City____________________________________ State/Province:_______________Zip/Postal Code:___________ Country:___________________________ Email:________________________________ URL:________________________________ ISEA member: ______yes _______no (please note: Membership application forms can be sent via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or completed on our web site: www.isea.qc.ca) I, _______________________________________________ being a member of the Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts hereby agree to be nominated as an ISEA Board member. Signature _____________________________date _____________________ Please submit these Personal Details with your nomination: 1. Short descriptive bio (max. 250 words) 2. How do you foresee your nomination will benefit ISEA and its membership? (max. 250 words) 3. Briefly outline your past involvement in the field of Electronic Art 4. Please list 3 concerns/plans you have regarding ISEA Deadline for nominations: JULY 15, 2000 We look forward to receiving your nominations ! ******* ISEA GATHERING AT SIGGRAPH 2000 An ISEA Gathering will take place during Siggraph 2000, which runs from July 23-29 in New Orleans, USA (www.siggraph.org/s2000). This will be your chance to meet ISEA board members and staff, as well as get an update on ISEA's activities and ISEA2000. Members, friends and interested parties are all most welcome to attend. Mark your calendars, we look forward to meeting you there! ISEA Gathering - Siggraph 2000 Thursday 27 July, 2000 Noon - 2 pm Location: Sheraton New Orleans (Headquarters Hotel) 500 Canal Street New Orleans, LA Room: Bayside Section A For more info or to RSVP: Katarina Soukup <email@example.com> ******** LEONARDO UPDATE In INL#76 we published a communiqué from ISEA's sister organization Leonardo/ISAST about their current legal troubles with Transasia/Leonardo Finance. The multinational corporation is Leonardo/ISAST's right to use of the word 'Leonardo' in any shape or form on the web. Here is an update on the situation from Leonardo President Roger Malina. Dear Leonardo colleagues and friends, You have contacted us in support of the Leonardo network art and science network in the lawsuit that has been filed by the company Transasia against the Association, a non profit organisation in France. We want to take this opportunity to thank you and provide you with an update on the situation. I am afraid to report that the news is not good. We are continuing to defend ourselves in court but Transasia is maintaining their lawsuit against us. We thank those of you that have made financial donations to help us help pay our legal costs; Additional details on the situation can be found at: http://mitpress.mit.edu/e-journals/Leonardo/isast/lawupdate.html We solicit at this time your ideas and suggestions on how to defend the lawsuit and preserve the future of the Leonardo network Roger Malina President, Association Leonardo ******* NEW MEMBER BENEFIT ISEA is pleased to announce that Artbyte-the Magazine of Digital Arts has increased the ISEA members discount from 15 to 25% off the annual subscription rate. For more information, please contact ISEA HQ: firstname.lastname@example.org. http://www.artbyteonline.com ************************** NEWS FROM MEMBERS ************************** DEBORAH LAWLER-DORMER was a participant in ANAT's Alchemy international masterclass for new media artists and curators in Brisbane, Australia which occurred over the months of May and June. NINA CZEGLEDY participated as a tutor. www.anat.org.au Congratulations are in order for NINA CZEGLEDY and ATAU TANAKA, who both received grants from the Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science, and Technology. www.fondation-langlois.org NINA CZEGLEDY and KATHY RAE HUFFMAN participated in the Maribor Festival of Computer Arts in Maribor, Slovenia from May 23-28, 2000, lauching the book anthology 'The Body Caught in the Intestines of the Computer'. http://home.amis.net/mkc/5mfru/ KATHY RAE was also a curator and participant at the Pro&Contra MachineMachy event in Moscow from May 11 to 14, 2000. KATHERINE LIBEROVSKYA curated the Canadian video selections. www.sccamoscow.ru/lab/ RAFAEL LOZANO-HEMMER was nominated for a SFMOMA Webby Award for his websites featuring a portfolio of projects and Vectoral Elevation, an interactive installation created for the Zocalo Square in Mexico City marking the end of the millenium in which people could participate via the web. He received an honorable mention. See an interview in this edition of the newsletter. http://www.telefonica.es/fat/artistas/rlh/eproyecto.html http://www.alzado.net MARGOT LOVEJOY gave a presentation entitled 'transaesthetics' on May 15, 2000 as part of the Monday Night Lecture Series organized by UCLA's Department of Design/Media Arts at the eda Space in Los Angeles, USA. http://www.design.ucla.edu/currents/eda/eda_home.html 'The Student's Construction of Artistic Truth in Digital Images', an article by DENA ELISABETH EBER about artistic/constructed truth and digital images was published in the current issue of Digital Creativity Magazine (contact HQ to find out about subscription discounts for ISEA members). Send us information about YOUR projects and activities! ********************************* NEW AND RENEWING MEMBERS ********************************* Thank you and welcome to the following new and renewing members: Rodrigo Alonso Tracey Benson Nina Czegledy Charlotte Davies Jane Finnis Heidi Gilpin Alastair Haines Roger Malina Kiyofumi Motoyama Tomohiro Naito Sheila Petty Barbara Ulrich Noah Wardrip-Fruin John Wolfpup ****************************************** FEATURE ARTICLES SPECIAL DOSSIER: MUSINGS ON NET.ART ****************************************** In this issue of the ISEA Newsletter, two artists give us different perspectives on net.art: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (Mexico/Canada) reports on the Webby Awards and Mary-Anne 'MEZ' Breeze (Australia) presents us with a 'performative text' written in "mezangelle", a linguistic form ripe with possibilities for email performance art. ****** ARTISTS IN WEBBY WONDERLAND Rafael Lozano-Hemmer interviewed by Katarina Soukup Touted as the Oscars of the Internet, the Annual Webby Awards, which took place this past May in San Francisco, give out prizes to websites in 27 categories ranging from Activism, Commerce, Kids, Print & Zines, all the way down to something labled "Weird". There is even a special category to recognize sites "that display art, are art, are about art, or provide art criticism". It might seem, however, just a bit risky for net artists to be sipping cocktails with the freshly minted multi-millionaires of Silicon Valley at events like the Webbies -what with DotCom euphoria sweeping (and perhaps dumping) Corporate America, the dizzying speed with which the web is being gobbled up by huge, hyphenated media conglomerates, and recent attempts by transnational corporations to squeeze arts organizations such as Etoy and Leonardo off the web. The tensions were no more apparent than during the presentation of last year's Webby Award to Jodi, who reputedly shouted "Capitalist sons-of-bitches!!" at the stunned audience and organizers. With this year's web art winner, Webstalker, declaring that "technological development = class war," it seems the Webbies are increasingly becoming a platform for artists to repudiate the DotCom economy. ISEA asked Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, who was nominated for the newly inaugerated SFMOMA Webby Award, to act as our "WebbySpy" and report on the uneasy commingling of aesthetic and commercial visions of the Internet at this year's Webby Awards. He also fills us in on the impact of the SFMOMA $50,000 prize, and the role of the museum in the creation and presentation of net.art. ***** INL: What was it was like to be there as an artist in the middle of what has become quite a DotCom spectacle? RLH: It was great! In particular I loved the tension between the blatant commercialism, marketing, self-promotion and hype, and the veneer of psuedo-radicality that the industry is supposed to represent. The mix of geeks and venture capitalists running the DotCom economy wanted to prove that they can be radical with an Armani suit. Everyone wanted to be a millionaire! Everyone wanted to believe in the new era of prosperity! Everyone thought that they "think different". It was a bit like a sporting event. For some of the smaller companies represented in the awards, this is really going to impact their day-to-day life, and when they won an award, there was an incredible effusiveness and explosion of happiness. The audience also cheered, in particular when "underdog" companies such as Napster won the Music category in the shadow of a lawsuit from Metallica. Sometimes the ostentatiousness was embarrassing, but most of it was fun. I did get an opportunity to meet some of the artists who were nominated or who attended, some of whom are quite established like Bill Viola, Gary Hill, DJ Spooky, Michael Naimark and Rebecca Allen.so I guess I was happy schmoozing like everyone else. As for the award-acceptance speeches, which can't be longer than five words, there weren't any great ones, except, in my opinion, those of the artists. I think artists seize the opportunity to bring up sensitive or critical issues into this kind of event. We are party-poopers by definition. Look at Jodi's speech last year, or Webstalker this year, who said something like "Remember technological innovation equals class war". If I had the opportunity to be in front of these 3000 millionaires with immense prosperity, I would have also liked to say five words that would rub people the wrong way. I think that's what artists do in general: highlight or underline the hypocrisy of it all. INL: Do you think the artists there had an impact, or were they ghettoized and seen as the "freaks"? Do you think, for instance, that those DotCom millionaires got Jodi's message last year? RLH: Well, sadly, I think it serves the purpose of the event. When something like Jodi happens, they just paternalize them, or say "Way to go! That's the radical spirit!" Since the whole web economy is based on that hype, that youth and supposed radicality, it fits very well into the script. The attitude is: "Let's wait and see what the artists have to say and hopefully it's something disturbing because it helps further our vision of our own radicality". INL: Could you tell us about the Webby category in which your site "Vectoral Elevation" was nominated. RLH: It was a new award called the SFMOMA Webby Prize for Art. It is very different from the other Webby awards, for instance in that it has a monetary purse and its own separate symposium. It awards a lot of money -$50,000 US- which is double or triple what you can get in any other net.art contest or competition that I'm aware of. The Award is not so much interested in one single piece as it is a body of work that involves the Net. The jurors were established artists like Gary Hill, familiar electronic art curators like Machiko Kusahara and Femke Wolting, John Maeda from the MIT Media Lab and four of SFMOMA's curators. I am happy that they made this a separate category, -it's not a ghetto where the artist is a token representative. It is more a way of recognizing that established art institutions need to somehow help produce work or maintain the operations of people who are pushing the envelope of on-line art. Despite the fact that most net.art is independently produced and non-objectual I think it is crucial to have this kind of institutional support. It was interesting to see that Auria [Harvey] and Michael [Samyn, creators of the winning website Entropy8Zuper,] do not see themselves as artists in the traditional sense of the word. INL I know Michael calls himself a failed designer and an ex-artist! RLH: And that's great because when they are given this position by the museum, which is supposed to officially legitimate their practice, the museum feels that artists kind of 'owe it to them' to play the traditional role of the inspired genius. It was wonderful because Michael and Auria did not do that. For example they said that video art had really missed the boat on interactivity and contact with people -saying this in front of video art super star Gary Hill (who indirectly defended himself saying that all art is interactive). They also refused to accept the idea that the museum could have such an important role on the development of net art, which was quite controversial and fun to hear in front of all the SFMOMA curators. I personally believe that the museum can have a role, and one of those roles is precisely to give an award such as this, to pump a bit of money into an ecology that is quite volatile. Now the question is, what does the museum want in return? My feeling is that they don't want to be seen as mausoleums, they don't want to be seen as dead institutions, and I really welcome that. I think every museum should be trying to establish some kind of Net Art operation, whether it's production, presentation or conferences. The most frustrating or most perverse thing you could do as a museum is to purchase or collect sites as if they were collectable objects, and then have links on your websites, or desktops within the institution to access them. This is perverse because the nature of Net Art is that it is disseminated, distributed, it's a dialogue, it grows and is uncontrollable and cannot be classified. But I do think museums could help the artists develop special versions of those sites, which are closer to interactive environments. The issue here is how a net experience is interfaced to reality, through alternative interfaces, through large screen projection, through 3-D positional sound. Something that enhances the experience of the Internet practice beyond what you could have at home with a keyboard and mouse. Something that is more immersive, body-based, performative or collective. In the language of amusement parks, they call it "location-based entertainment". Sure, people could have a DVD or a Net connection at home, but in order to experience a simulator rock with a huge screen, you have to get out of the home and get into a simulator in an entertainment complex. To the degree that a museum is a place where people share experiences, it would be wonderful if net art or electronic art had that kind of vectorial quality where it could be interfaced in a unique way in the museum. INL: What has been the impact of the Webby nomination and being involved in this whole spectacle (besides $6500 US for having been awarded an honorable mention!)? RLH: Since getting the award we saw the visits to the site go up ten fold, although they went back to normal two weeks later. The money was nice and we are using it to publish a book. As for the whole experience, this is the first time I've come into contact with this Californian ideology, and see first hand what Wired Magazine is talking about all the time. I am sometimes in Mexico City reading headlines from Wired Magazine that say "This is the long, economic boom, and we are living in incredible, unsurpassed prosperity!". And then I look around me and I see totally the opposite: an intensification of economic violence, widespread insecurity and panic, ecological disaster and a concentration of power away from governments and into corporations. So finally in coming to the Webbies and meeting these people, I recognize that they do live a very artificial reality. They live a new trans-national, post-everything wealth. It's amazing. It's seductive and blatant. To me it's interesting. INL: Interesting in what sense? RLH: It's perversely interesting. To me this whole scenario is a micro-ecology of people who refuse to acknowledge that the rest of the world does not enjoy the same prosperity that they enjoy. They just fail to make the connection between global, liberal, transnational capitalism and economic violence between North and South for example. They don't get that. Everyone is kind of innocent in a way, enthusiastic, and full of ideas setting up their corporations. And it's so artificial and fake. It is unique, and that is what makes it interesting: such a concentration of wealth in young people's hands. Imagine if they decided to use that prosperity to really seek radical change. but why would they? To them this is the promised global village and everyone can have a part of it! Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (aka DJ Clifford Po
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