#073 Aug/Sept 1999



#73 August-September 1999

* Editorial * ISEA News  * Special Dossier  * Event Reports *

*Une version francaise est disponible. Contacter le secretariat pour l'obtenir*



As you may now know, I have just been appointed  ISEA's new executive
director. Files and papers are already mounting on my new desk, a lot of
fascinating history to learn about, urgent current affairs to deal with,
and many great projects to realize.

At ISEA's Headquarters in Montreal, I found a very stimulating team, all of
them driven by a passion for electronic arts and, as I quickly found out,
also for ISEA. Most of all, they have been very helpful to me, for tomorrow
or later are not words in their vocabulary whenever I ask them for a little
help to better understand ISEA. The same applies to board members, most of
whom patiently answered my many questions about ISEA via e-mail.

For each of you, ISEA means something different: a first break into the
international electronic arts scene, a good place to promote ideas on
science, arts and technologies, etc. As a journalist and online editor,
ISEA was for me the source of great people to interview. Last spring, I met
with the board in Montreal while I was filming a first draft of a
documentary on new media artists. I would stand in the hallway, waiting for
Atau Tanaka or Techla to come out of the meeting so I could follow them
with a video camera. I was very impressed with ISEA, the board, and all its
international members, and felt very lucky: I knew for certain that I was
at the right place at the right time. After all, my main interest as a
journalist covering the new media scene is not technology in itself, but
the people using it. And I had almost ten of them in the same place!

Of course, it never occurred to me that Alain Mongeau would one day
approach me with a job offer at ISEA. Today, I'm just glad he did, for the
more I get to know ISEA's members and projects, the more I know that I am,
again, in the right place at the right time.

My experience as an online editor as proven very useful in many ways. If I
am still left with many unanswered questions, I acquired at least one
certainty: interactivity with our online community proved incredibly
enriching. The implementation of tools that facilitated and promoted member
generated content was and still is a great success in Voir
(http://www.voir.ca) and Hour (http://www.afterhour.com) websites.

Thus, promoting online interactivity within ISEA's members and community is
certainly one mission I would like to carry on during my mandate at ISEA.
ISEA is a great place to debate the relationships between arts, sciences
and technologies, on the social, psychological and cultural impacts of
technologies, and I think we should find ways to make sure these debates
carry on outside our symposia.

Interactivity between members could make this organization a place where
Derrick de Kerckhove's notion of  "connective intelligence" could emerge.
In a recent interview with him, the director of the McLuhan Program in
Toronto defined connective intelligence as "intelligence that works with
many people on objects that were before confined to individual
intelligence. The idea of an intelligence that would live outside the
narrow limits of the individual human body is essential."

ISEA, an intelligent organization that thrives thanks to the interaction of
its members? Sounds good to me. As a journalist, I've repeated to myself
again and again one simple mantra: "be a good listener". And I do not
intend to change that soon. So please, send me all your ideas and comments
on how we could make ISEA a better place to "think interactively".

Carlos Soldevila


15 October, 1999
Montreal, Quebec

ISEA HQ would like inform all ISEA members that the Annual General Assembly
will take place just after Cartographies: The General Assembly on New Media
Art (details on this event below) which will be held at the Ex-Centris
Centre in Montreal, Canada this October. Details about the AGM agenda will
be sent to you by email very soon, but you may also contact Carlos
Soldevila in this regard: <carlos@isea.qc.ca>


12-13-14 October 1999
Complexe Ex-Centris
Montreal, Quebec

As many of you already know from previous newsletters, this pan-Canadian
event will examine the state of new media art across Canada (Before and
Beyond) with reference to models and strategies from around the world (you
will find the preliminary programme below).

Updates and a final programme will be posted on the isea website:

ZONE ZERO : Toward a Definition of New Media Art

-  Analysis, evaluations and diagnosis of the emergence and the state of
New Media Art in Canada and around the world. In 1999, how do we define and
approach new artistic practices which fuse different disciplines with
technology? What do we mean by electronic art, media art, or even new
media? Can we outline these distinctive practices in technological,
interdisciplinary, collective, or political terms? What are the emergent
contexts, the leading concepts and the key questions that have been part of
the discourses and practices surrounding the media arts in the past twenty
years ?

10h to 13h

14h30 to 17h30


TACTICAL ZONES : The State of New Media Art :  Québécois and Canadian
- Current Organizations and Models of Creation, Production, Distribution
and Conservation of New Media.

10h to 13h

Many media art works can be placed in relation to the so-called
traditiotional arts which become "fields of potentiality" that are more and
more hybridized through contact with technology. In contrast, other works
are new in the sense that the technology required to create them did not
exist before. These works of today are polysemic, multi-sensorial,
interactive, virtual. In search of an identity of their own, they demand
new criteria of evaluation and understanding, as well as new sensibilities.
What happens to the traditional questions of the author, the work , the
user, the processing of information, etc. What happens to the author when
his/her identity is effaced in order to make room for fluid and shifting
collaborations; when the lines between creation, production and technique
are blurred? How do we approach questions relating to copyright,
intellectual property, and censorship? What happens to the work itself: is
it an object, tool, or process?

14h 30 to 17h30

The question of definition related to new media art, corresponds to the
questions centres of production and distribution are also asking
themselves. Like art works, art venues are marrying new forms, opening up
new fields of action, or are grafting new activities onto their traditional
structures. If the community model of the artist-run centre corresponds to
the needs of the last decades, is it still adequate today? Do we require
other types of organizations to define emerging artistic fields and to
represent new generations of artists? In this context, what is the place of
research centres and university laboratories ? Do virtual networks and
communities respond to these new needs?


MOBILES ZONES: The Challenge of New Networks
- Thematic Workshops

10h -11h: 	Presentation of the workshop themes by the leaders/moderators
11h-14h:	Workshops
15h -17h: 	Reports & conclusions from the workshops by the
leaders/moderators and closing words
17h-19h : 	Closing cocktail
19h30 :	Opening film - FCMM
Opening night at the Media Lounge - FCMM


Does the ephemeral character of New Media in general, and digital works in
particular, offer enough stability for conservation? Is the traditional
idea of conservation itself an illusion, is it viable and relevant? What
about the available tools and methods? In this new context, what is the
role of institutions such as museums and how can artists intervene?


Discourses that call for new models of collaboration between art,
education, industry and the state are proliferating at the same pace that
technology infiltrates all economic and social activities, that access is
defined by the speed of the connection, that the market is deregulated,
that mass media become "new media", and that artistic research requires new
modes of action. What are the cultural initiatives in new media? Where are
the financial incentives and the venture capital, measures which, thus far,
have been confined to the computer industry, leaving artistic creation
marginalized in a blurred definition ? What is the place of the artist in
fundamental research ? On a Québécois, Canadian and international level, do
we see emerging modes of partnership and networking ?



ISEA is pleased to announce the appointment of Carlos Soldevila as the new
Executive Director of the organization. Carlos Soldevila is a writer and
new media editor. While working as press correspondent in Cuba for the CBC
(Canadian Broadcasting corporation) and later in Quebec City for Reuters
Press Agency, he participated to the realization of many online magazines.
Before accepting ISEA's executive directorship, Carlos worked as the
multimedia editor of the online magazines Voir <http://www.voir.ca/> and
Hour <http://www.afterhour.com/>. Carlos still writes a weekly column on
new media for Voir. He is also the author of three books on travel (Cuba,
Guatemala, Belize).

Carlos replaces Claude Schryer, who left ISEA in March to take on the
position of coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Programme at the Canada
Council for the Arts.



August 25-29, 1999
Itau Cultural Centre
Sau Paulo, Brazil

INVENCAO is an opportunity for those working at the creative edge of the
arts, sciences and technology to collaborate in the transdisciplinary
development of ideas and innovative strategies for life in the next
millennium. Invenção is a "seeding" event that seeks to identify key
questions and issues that can lead to the radical transformation of culture.

Just as artists increasingly work with the metaphors of science, so
scientists are employing forms of representation, such as visualisation,
which owe much to research in the digital arts. As art is transformed by
interactivity, so science increasingly recognises the subjectivity of the
observer. In turn, technology informs our aesthetic and epistemological
structures and is engendering new processes of perception, communication
and cognition.

INVENCAO will examine the consequences of this convergence of art, science
and technology on our sense of self and human identity, on consciousness,
community and the city, as well as on learning and leisure.

INVENCAO is organised by the Itau Cultural Institute in collaboration with:

ISEA, Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts
<http://www.isea.qc.ca >


CAiiA-STAR, Centre for Advanced Inquiry in the Interactive Arts, University
of Wales College, Newport and the Centre for Science Technology and Art
Research, University of Plymouth, UK

and supported by IDEA <http://nunc.com>.

The organising committee consists of: Arlindo Machado (chair), Roy Ascott,
Roger Malina and Alain Mongeau. The scientific committee is: Diana
Domingues, Claudia Giannetti, Eduardo Kac, Marcos Novac and Margarita

INVENCA0 will take place at the Itau Cultural Centre, Avenida Paulista,
149,  Sau Paulo, Brazil
Blue Room and Red Room
10am to 6pm (panels and presentations of papers)
7:30pm to 9pm (lectures by the guest speakers)

To attend :
Send e-mail from July 10 forward to <invencao@itaucultural.org.br>, with your
complete name, phone and e-mail. Then, wait for a confirmation notice. There
is no registration fee. Once your registration is accepted and confirmed,
you can go to the INVENCAO secretary from August 23 to the final day of the
event and get an identification card.

Congratulations to the following ISEA members who will be presenting at

Roger Malina, Nina Czegledy, Ernestine Daubner, Marikki Hakola, Patrick
Lichty, Jose Carlos Mariategui, Jack Ox, Andrea Polli, Patricia Search

The following event is hosted by ART 3000, ISEA's partner in the
organization of ISEA 2000 in Paris, France

15 - 17 November 1999
Forum des Images
Paris (75001),  France

Over the course of three days, the General Assembly on Interactive Writing
will gather artists, researchers, and experts in order to examine the state
of emerging concepts and tools in the domain of interactive creation and
new media.

(this is not an exhaustive list)

1. A COLLOQUIUM (plenaries and panels) bringing together more than 40
-Interactive Creation: Towards Generative Systems
-Interactive and Generative Music: A Thorough Overview
-New Platforms in Interactive Creation
-The Use and Practice of Multimedia in Publicly-Accessible Spaces: Analyses
and Experiences
-French Resources in Interactive Writing: Tools and Reseach

2. AN EXHIBITION  open to the public at large
Over the course of 10 days, this exhibiton will present a secletion of the
most important artist works in the domain of interactive and generative
creation (virtual reality, multimedia installations, networks).


-TWO FESTIVE EVENINGS featuring artist performances, cocktails, and music
-A CATALOGUE of events including analysis and opinions
-THE LAUNCH OF THE ART 3000 WEBSITE presenting numerous sections dedicated
to culture and to new media creation.

The 3rd General Assembly on Interactive Writing is organized with the
support and collaboration of the Ministry of Culture and Communication,
SACD, and the Forum des Images de la Ville de Paris, Canal+, and numerous
other partners.

Information and reservations:
ART 3000
Sarah Mascheroni
Communications Officer
Tel : 01 48 06 28 10 / Fax : 01 48 06 28 83
email : art3000@calva.net



Just a reminder of the following ISEA activities taking place during the
events below. All ISEA members, friends, and interested parties are welcome
to attend. Please contact the hosts of each meeting listed below for more
information on how to participate:

Siggraph 99
August 8-13, 1999

ISEA GATHERING during Siggraph 99
Thursday August 12, 1999
Room 511A
Los Angeles Convention Centre
Los Angeles, USA

Cynthia Beth Rubin

Kathy Rae Huffman

August 25-29, 1999

ISEA Meeting at Invencao
Sunday 29 August, 1999
Itau Cultural Centre
Avenida Paulista, 149,
Sau Paulo, Brazil

Nina Czegledy


The Events Calendar on our website is up-dated almost daily and features
events and entry deadlines listed by month. Point your browser to:


ISEA HQ is currently compiling, processing, and organizing archive
materials from the last 9 ISEA symposia in preparations for ISEA's 10th
anniversary celebrations in 2000. Our goal is to launch a state-of-the art
multimedia (audio, video) website which houses the digitized material and
incorporates a powerful search engine tool to aid site visitors. We feel
this material will be an important resource for both the specialized
(researchers, artists, curators, students) and general publics. It will
also constitute a significant historical legacy for the documentation of
the electronic arts over a decade which has seen an exponential growth and
interest in this artistic discipline.

ISEA HQ posseses quite a lot of material already. We are seeking the
collaboration and cooperation of previous ISEA participants and hosts in
order to make this important archive project as complete and thorough as
possible. In particular audio/video documentation of exhibitions &
performances, websites, proceedings, and catalogues from the early ISEA
symposia (FISEA88 in Utrecht, SISEA90 in Gronigen) would be most
appreciated. We would digitally process this material and integrate it into
the archive database, returning the original documents (if requested)

To find out how to send material or for more information on ISEA's
Electronic Archive project, please contact Katarina Soukup


ISEA is pleased to announce a new project on the ISEA-forum listserv.
ChatterBox is a series of moderated discussions on  ISEA-Forum (open to
both ISEA members and non-members). The discussions will be around selected
and specific topics in the electronic arts; around issues, for instance,
such as the intersection of the arts with the fields of technology,
science, education, and industry. These texts could be about creative
process, specific art practices, the work of specific artists, art theory,
artist centres, etc. The possible topics are endless.

ChatterBox will be a bi-monthly affair beginning this September and each
edition will consist of 3 or 4 people, in addition to a guest moderator,
who will contribute texts (500-750 words each) to ISEA Forum. The texts
could be released all at once, or one per day over a period of a week. They
could be theory, criticism, personal accounts, or creative writing. The
ISEA-Forum public-at-large would be invited to intervene, comment, discuss.

The idea is not to re-orient ISEA Forum away from its current form as a
free, open discussion, but to add to this existing framework a series of
more structured and specific debates.

The first edition of this project will be launched at the beginning of
September. ChatterBox 1.0 features guest moderator Laura McGough of Nomads
and the subject of New Media Art Collectives.

ISEA Members are invited to send proposals as guest moderators. The guest
moderator of each edition of ChatterBoxis responsible for finding and
obtaining the texts of the 3 or 4  panelists, as well as for writing a
short 500 word text that links them all together.

Please send your ideas and proposals for ChatterBox to Katarina Soukup
<katarina@isea.qc.ca>. To subscribe to ISEA Forum, send an email message to
<listproc@uqam.ca>. Leave the subject field blank and in the body of the
message write: subscribe ISEA-forum with your first name and last name.


This is a new feature of the newsletter. ISEA HQ sends a warm greeting to
the following new and renewing members. Welcome to the ISEA Community!

Yoshiyuki  Abe
Amanda  Aronczyk
Kit  Blake
Michael  Boyce
Erik  Brisson
Leslee  Broersma
Isabelle  Choinière
Rosalind  Dimon
Kathy Rae  Huffman
Marieke  Istha
Kathy  Kennedy
Ryszard W.  Kluszczynski
Emmanuelle  Loubet
Maureen  Nappi
Eduardo  Pla
Patricia  Search
Janina   Simioni Sanchez
Linda  Tauscher
Tonyia  Tidline
Herwig  Turk
Roman  Verostko
Margaret  Watson

SPECIAL DOSSIER ON Gender/Sex/Technology
In this edition of the Newsletter, Carlos Soldevila profiles two
organizations dedicated to bringing women into digital culture: Studio XX
from Québec and Les Penelopes from France. We've also asked Old Boys
Network -the instigators of the Cyberfeminist International conferences- to
give us the low-down on their organization and what "cyberfeminism" means
to them. Finally, Kathy Rae Huffman reviews several recent CD-ROMs, all of
which explore issues of gender and sexuality. Links related to articles can
be found in the Flash News section of our website: <http://www.isea.qc.ca>

by Carlos Soldevila

The Internet is still, unfortunately, a den of men. But several groups of
women have decided to make the Web a vehicle for their ideas on
cyberfeminism and, why not, their new battle field. Each in their own way,
these organizations chose to show that feminism, today, also implies
women's appropriation of new information technologies.

In Montreal, Studio XX (http://www.studioxx.org) is a well known
organization. Founded in 1995, its principal objective is to offer women
better access to digital technologies. Over the years, their Web site has
acted as a catalyst for the quebecois cyberfeminist movement. The Studio XX
web site offers, among other things, interesting articles on cyberfeminism
and reflections on how women are touched by new communication technologies.

One also discovers spaces for Web art, forums and Femmes branchees, a
series of informal meetings that take place outside the Web framework.
These "techno cocktails" offer an eclectic mixture of artists'
presentations, performances and discussions around technologies and new

Montreal has also a Webgrrls' chapter (http://www.webgrrls.com/montreal /).
This organization, which was founded in 1995 in New York has been able to
foster unparalleled media attention to the causes of cyberfeminism. The
general mandate of the movement is to help women succeed in an increasingly
technical workplace and world.

In Montreal, Webgrrls offers mentoring and training to women in the areas
of computing and the Internet, a growing database of members in order to
facilitate networking and job opportunities, special events such as career
nights, international videoconferencing, and most of all, a mailing list
for all Webgrrls to keep in touch, share tips and plan activities.

The use of the Web by groups of women has also started to have an echo in
France. Created last April, Les Penelopes (http://www.mire.net/penelopes)
have created an original Web site. Les Penelopes is an association whose
mandate is to diffuse, transmit and exchange information created by and for
the women in the world. Their site acts as an "observatory of women's
appropriation of information technologies", explains Joelle Palmieri, of
Les Penelopes. "Information circulates much more quickly on the Web, and it
acquires an international dimension which multiplies our efforts by ten. It
especially allows encounters to take place."

Les Penelopes also produce Cyberfemmes, an interactive television show on
the Web, which airs each week on canalweb.net. In addition to this, Les
Penelopes organized many events, such as a Forum on women and the
multimedia industry and a conference on new technologies from the point of
view of the women. "Penelopes of today weave their own fabric," we read on
their Web site. Journeying through the Internet, they establish
connections, tie links. Their projects? To affirm themselves as female
creators and users of new communication technologies. To set up a server
for feminist and female associations to build bridges between women of the
world and to weave a multicultural fabric on the web ."


The Mode is the Message--the Code is the Collective

"What is the regulating structure of OBN? What are the special operational
conditions which make this transitory group work the way it does?" We shall
try to answer these questions through a critical reflection on our rules,
discussion-habits, decision-making processes and work in general.

1. Every member of the OLD BOYS NETWORK is required to call herself a woman
(without consideration of the biological base of this intelligent
2. The functions of organisation, execution and responsibility of and for
the work are shared - there is no chief. This is what we call the principle
of the 'missing chief', aka 'open stage'.
3. Decisions are made by consensus of the core group of OBN (ca. 5-9
members) of which every member is personally named on the official website
4. Every member has agreed to find a personal position in response to the
question: what is 'cyberfeminism', based on her scientific or artistic
work. And each has agreed to share and support the efforts of working out
the potential of this term on an international level.
5. A plurality of communication-channels is used: from personal e-mail,
chats, hours of regional or international phone calls, 'in the flesh'
meetings to an official mailing-list.
6. Every core group-member can leave anytime, and new members can join the
group, if there is a consensus on the matter.
7. With regard to its contents - the elaborations of 'cyberfeminisms' - our
aim is the principle of disagreement!
8. There is an outer circle of associated women who actively participate in
a more transitory way (ca. 60-70 women).
9. The general public, including persons not calling themselves women, is
kept informed by television, radio-reports, personal interviews, articles
in electronic and printed media, the website, presentations in the
scientific and art-communities, the Cyberfeminist International Conferences

Personal statements from OBN members

"The OLD BOYS NETWORK is a collective experiment aiming to develop
non-hierarchical structures - on the organisational as well as the textual
plane. Such a structure is determined by the grammatically inclusive power
of a "non-"; it includes in its conception the commitment to base its work
on controversial and different personal styles and goals, i.e. on conflicts
and debates.

This mode of production is oriented around one primary question: "What is
Cyberfeminism?". It asks for the reinvention of feminist procedures in
theory, art and politics under the contemporary conditions of a digital
reinvention of every aspect of human existence.

The different approaches and interests of the NETWORK lead to a complex
structure of contradicting answers, thus questioning the mainstream
prejudices about CYBERFEMINISM. By virtue of its structure, the NETWORK
questions the irresponsible and inappropriate business of the well known
ideologues who, with every thought they put out, contribute to the ruling
omniscient stupidities. To counter this widespread understanding of
'different' feminine theory, the OLD BOYS NETWORK instead performs the
concept of "difference" operating as its fuse - with one or some
predictable explosions - hopefully targeting and hitting the context of
dominant representational structures.

My way of dealing with the open structure of the NETWORK is to understand
the formula "CYBERFEMINISM IS A MISUNDERSTANDING" as a broad and embracing
one. The art of mis -understanding, -chief, -behaviour, -use, -fit etc.
indicates a delicate but effective mode of production. It emphasises the
drive towards collective interaction, the encounter with otherness and the
radical search for 'different' approaches towards the idle motion of old
cultural techniques that have been caused by the digital medium."
-Claudia Reiche

"The Old Boys Network is a group of women doing research on Cyberfeminism,
while providing an open and experimental platform for diverse discussions
and strategies by Cyberfeminists.

The word Cyberfeminism is inconsistent in its meaning. It ranges from
dealing with feminist issues in connection with the digital media to a
trendy movement. After theories of the end of history and the human,
Cyberfeminism offers hope for a new start, a sort of next wave. But this
time one which makes it possible for us to focus in a much more precise and
radical way.

The stupid hype around digital media helps Cyberfeminism a lot. It is a
mixture of utopian dreams, avant-garde ideas (leading a movement etc.) and
the urgent desire for a new and easy sensibility in a difficult world.
Cyberfeminism will use it as long as it lasts. "
-Helene von Oldenburg

"For me new cyberfeminist politics involve examining the connections
between historical and contemporary sites of feminist theory, analysis,
contestation, struggle, and resistance, and the new technological
developments which are having a profound impact on these sites. It is now
necessary to become aware of how we deal with differences in our most
intimate spheres. At the same time we need to strengthen our presence in
the greatly contested digital domain as technology has been an integral
part of the construction and positioning of identities. In the current
state of technologically facilitated global capitalism it becomes
imperative to find new ways of interacting in and out of cyberspace.

In the 90s we have seen increasing erosion of many feminist gains, and new
problems are arising for women: global capitalism, and the spread of
technologised work and life to even the remotest parts of the world are
having far-reaching effects on all populations of women. Ironically, the
global pancapitalist network has closely interlinked the fates of people
from different cultures, backgrounds, races, classes, and economic levels
everywhere into complex chains of interdependency which need to be much
more closely examined and understood. Changes of identities and
subjectivity are taking place rapidly bringing with them new problems of
representation of difference in the face of global homogenisation. New
medical and biotechnologies, as well as new reproductive technologies are
posing entirely new questions about women's health, embodiment, sexuality,
and gender identification. These are all important issues for new
cyberfeminist investigation and action."
-Faith Wilding

"In the beginning it was very important for me to participate in a feminist
group with similar ideas and hopes of releasing new aesthetics or
symbolic-political issues in the age of new technologies and digital media.

Now, after OBN's organisation of the second cyberfeminist conference, I
think it's more important to develop these issues and define them more
carefully so as to better connect internationally with other women
concerned with similar questions, especially those working with digital
media. The biggest problem, or rather my starting point for the future, is
that Cyberfeminism - or even the New Cyberfeminism as we practice it - does
not differentiate itself clearly enough from other Feminisms, many of which
are closely linked to Western theorists.

Cyberfeminists believe that technologies shape our body and subjectivity,
and they want to enjoy that. Therefore, we cyberfeminists of OBN have to
extend our network into technological fields; try to engage women with this
idea and to insist on it, especially if others don't find it important or
want to bash women.

Now the question arises if we should act more as a pressure group or an
open and global network alliance which becomes a competitor with the powers
that be and is much more than a small group of people doing an art project.
For most of us, direct political intervention or activist strategies in the
body of the group were not necessary until now. We relied much more on
being resistant, provocative or extensive in our own individual work which
we dealt with politically. The operational field of OBN has been based on
symbolic and not activist engagements. All of us work in the fields of art,
literature and science. Personally, I believe in the importance of art and
art criticism as places for cultural, political and social reflection - the
main issue in my life and work is to invest in the (more or less...)
political independence and openness of that space.

Obviously, symbolic-political, aesthetic and theoretical strategies have to
be developed. Acting as a group might be more efficient than working alone.
Herein lie OBN's next common concerns: 1. Do we want to be a group with
common issues and concrete political aims? 2. What is our message? 3. Who
are our enemies/friends? 4. What could our strategies look like? 5. What do
we like to do? 6. With whom do we want to make further alliances?"
-Yvonne Volkart

"OBN is not explicitly an art project, but a hybrid which evolves at the
interfaces of art, science, philosophy and politics. As OBN deals with
power-structures and questions of representation, a political
self-understanding suggests itself whereas OBN's methods as much as the
outcomes of its work indicate an artistic one.

OBN understands politics as working with confusion, disappointment,
annoyance, impatience and excitement. The new spaces for thinking and
acting which OBN opens ultimately remain hollow. OBN does not formulate
theories, nor theses; it does not give any instructions nor does it offer
answers to the pressing questions of our times. OBN tries to escape the
imperatives of a traditional understanding of politics.

At the same time, by focusing on the issues of cyberfeminism, OBN
approaches a classical political debate: feminism. Although categories like
class, race and gender and their related restrictions can no longer offer a
basis for political action, OBN still refers mainly to one of these
categories - namely gender - and attempts to deal with it in an expanded
sense. But cyberfeminisms are individual, and so cyberfeminist strategies
continue to be partial, on-going and even to contradict each other.

OBN's understanding of politics seems paradoxical. It is about forming
alliances, about defining common issues, about creating a discourse; it is
pragmatic and dreams of meaningful action. But it also rejects common goals
and strategies, and plays with the different notions of politics, i.e.
intentional, ideological or playful and anarchic. This is an understanding
of politics which refuses to be political but is, at the same time,
politically effective. Such an understanding of politics approaches art."

-Cornelia Sollfrank

For me, old boys network stands for a small, concentrated and therefore
potent group as well as a being a structure, a cyberfeminist network that
is working in and on the net with cyberfeminist strategies and on
cyberfeminist issues. Far more than merely a strategic alliance, obn
operates on the basis of personal sympathy as well as mutual acknowledgment
and recognition - a community which obtains its agency by way of its common
sense about dissent as a common sense: many-voiced instead of a univocal
chorus-line that needs to be guided by a conductor or a leader. Important
is continuous exchange, discussion, and transdisciplinary collaboration,
especially in the sense that old boys - though coming from different
disciplines, referring to different theoretical backgrounds, having made
different experiences, relating to different methods - have a common basis
and field of work: cyberfeminism. Also important is that we all are
prepared and willing to develop common cyberfeminist strategies.
Of course it is by no means a mere accident if these cyberfeminist
strategies can be aptly seized as aesthetic strategies. This shall not
suggest that the net is a work of art in the traditional sense, nor should
obn be understood as a kind of artistic project (again in the traditional
sense). Rather one could state that obn is a working group acting in the
realms of the art world as a operating system (betriebssystem kunst), but
without any obedient reference to the limiting conditions of this operating
system. At this point it might become clear, that obn's aesthetic
strategies are always to be understood as political - of course not to
support any kind of aesthetisation of the political (as it is to be
observed widely on the net wherever net.art is being abused to mask
economical interests), but rather because any aesthetic  is to be
understood as political at the same time.

Actually, for me cyberfeminist (self-)understatment and (net-)work(ing) in
a very basic sense could be defined as working on the code, or, to be more
precise: working on the texts and subtexts the net consists of and is built
on. Where ever these texts and subtexts (and this seems to be in the very
nature of things, respectively in the technology the net is based on) serve
to contribute to the consolidation and conservation of the binary code the
traditional notions of gender are erected upon. Moreover, to me it is an
important, maybe the most important concern of cyberfeminist
(net-)work(ing), to analyse and deconstruct the pertinent practices of
representation and regulation as well as to develop effective strategies
that are appropriate to queer and to subvert those practices, and, of
course, to search for new perspectives that might lead us beyond any binary
system of the so-called gender arrangements (ordnungen der geschlechter) -
on the net.
- Verena Kuni

Old Boys Network can be reached at <boys@obn.org>.  The last Cyberfeminist
International Conference was held in Rotterdam in March, 1999. This text
was originally published in Mute Magazine #13 <http://www.metamute.com/>.


by Kathy Rae Huffman

Five new multimedia works on CD ROM have been introduced during the last
year, each presents artists in the unique medium that allows archival
preservation, serves as an exhibition (or exhibition documentation +), and
is often an original digital artwork.   The medium itself:  CD ROM, is a
primarily storage medium for digital information.  It is stable, reliable,
easy to copy, and it can represent a range of  technical innovations. With
content and an interface design to provide a meaningful navigational
metaphor,  the CD-ROM is a useful format.

The following 5 works are special editions that represent artists. They are
not commercially available, but can be purchased (by individuals or
institutions).  Each brings new, international perspectives on the
individual artist.  Each is worthy of the attention of the serious
collector of multimedia works, and presents the artist in a perspective of
sex and gender,  but especially from personal, individual (and most often
female) perspectives.

1. Art-int-act 5  (1998).

The fifth edition of the annual artists' interactive CD-ROMagazine from the
ZKM - Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (Media Museum in Karlsruhe)
was published for dual platform use (MAC Power PC version 8 and above or PC
- Pentium recommended).  Art -int-act 1was issued in 1994.  Each edition
has provided a hard cover book, with a CD ROM built into the cover. This
edition brings texts by the artists, theoreticians and curators. They are
bilingual (German and English).  Each edition has been commissioned  by
ZKM, not created around themes, but as the result of residencies at the
Institute for Visual media or the ZKM Institute for Music and Acoustics, as
a new kind of multimedia exhibition.

The 5th (1998) edition features three new works that bring the topic of sex
and gender to the forefront in subtle ways.  And, if it is not obvious
through the works themselves, the accompanying essays tie the artists works
together.  The introductory essay "PVC - PerformanceVideoComputer" by
Gerhard Johann Lischka  is (by its title) a reflection on the state of the
medium and a content provocative work about identity, lifestyle and the
mediatized life.  It also identifies the undercurrent of each work to be
the individual, the body and the mediated experience.

"Frozen Places" by Forced Entertainment (Tim Etchells and company, United
Kingdom) & Hugo Glendinning is accompanied by texts by Etchells and Peggy
Phelan. "Things Spoken" a text and image work  by Agnes Hegedüs
(Hungary/Germany) has an accompanying text by Tjebbe van Tijen.
"Impalpability" a sensuous interpretation of the human body by Masaki
Fujihata (Japan)  has texts by Hans-Peter Schwarz and Fujihata.

ZKM/Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe
Lorenzstrasse 19
D-76135 Karlsruhe

2. Terminals 2.0 (1999)

Terminals 2.0 is a cross-platform CD-ROM, but certain pieces requiring
specific plug-ins (for text-to-speech synthesis) will only work on MACs.
"Terminals" is the documentation of an exhibition and conference at the
University of California Santa Barbara, on the cultural production of
death.  It began as Terminals 1.0 (Considering the End) in 1994 (as a
website only).  The final project has been realized with a catalogue/book
with a limited (first) edition of 500, edited by Connie Samaras and
Victoria Vesna, the CD ROM, and a website <www.arts.ucsb.edu/terminals>.

The CD ROM is available online and has the entire contents of the book. In
addition to this, it includes visual projects by Carolee Schneemann, Auriea
Harvey, Mark Benthin/Yan Breuleux, Carol Jacobsen, Gary Smith, Sheree Rose,
Robert Nideffer, Allan DeSouza and Laurel Beckmann.   It also contains
excerpts from the journals of:  Kathy Acker, Bob Flanagan, Christine
Tamblyn, all recently deceased.

The exhibition, shown in the UC California system, is available for
archives and libraries from the Department of Art Studio, University of
California Santa Barbara, California 93106-7206 <www.arts.ucsb.edu>.

3. Gender Media Art  (1999)

This CD ROM was created for a MAC sys 8.0 or higher or a WIN Pentium
machine with 90MHx or faster. Using keyboard navigation, it  is an archive
of exhibition and projects at Axis dealing with gender.  The interface is a
roulette of faces and styles?a nice gender mix-up that calls into question
each individual user, and what gender mix the target could be.

The CD ROM is divided into sections:
1. A Gender Media Art  projector offers a multimedia presentation in QT
3.0, of excerpts from exhibitions at Axis.  These are excellent

2. The AXIS annual report 1997-1998 is offered in Dutch and English.

3. The HTML home page of the exhibition Gender Media Art , complete with
links, is archived.

4. 2000: a millennium updated archive of the calendar pin-ups of "Women
with Beards"  a unique Dutch web project introduced online in 1997

5. 00:  The Living, a segment by Debra Solomon, which requires the
crescendo plug-in to view, offers a peek at this "live" and online "living"

Axis writes that "gender and transgender, queer and post-queer marks the
new range of visions on sexual identity at the turn of this millennium".
With this statement, they bring some of the most provocative projects
together as an archive and testament to the groundbreaking work of artists.
Theorists, critics and artists are combined to discuss and present these

This work is available from  Axis, Bureau voor de Kunsten V/M
Oudezijds Voorburgwal 72, 1012 GE Amsterdam NL
axis@axisvm.nl -- www.axisvm.nl

4. Bilder der Berührungen :  Vali Export  (1998)

An archival CD ROM, this autobiographical work was created by Valie Export,
professor of multimedia performance at the Media Academy in Cologne,
Germany.  The programming ,y syntax, for the MAC Power PC, system 7.1 or
higher or a multimedia PC (Win 95/NT) has by far the most sophisticated
interface of this selection.  It  utilizes the hand, a powerful symbol, one
found often in Exports work, as the metaphor for navigation.

The CD ROM is centered around  Export's experimental film "Syntagma", and a
film menu allows the user to experience associatively the links to other
works - with varying combinations and sequences that reveal different ways
of perceiving the individual works.  Export, who says "the body is the
center of my world" offers more than 50 films and video works, photographs,
texts, quotations and poems, and texts are in German and English.  The
full-length version of  "Syntagma "(1983) is included.

This work is distributed by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walter König, Köln
ISBN 3-88375-321-1

5. Archival Quality - Christine Tamblyn (1999)

This CD ROM is a memorial project initiated by Christine herself, before
her death in 1998, and completed by her friends and colleagues to accompany
an exhibition of her work.   Archival Quality contains her complete
journals (from the time she was a child of 10), the criticism that she
wrote, including "Remote Control: The Electronic Transference",  which was
included in the book Processed Lives: Gender and Technology, ed. by
Jennifer Terry and Melodie Calvert (1997 Routledge).

An introductory  text  entitled "Archive Fever" by Margaret Morse, a
longtime friend and media theoretician, introduces the disc, which has the
complete collection of  excerpts from performance works and installations
by Tamblyn.  Not included are the works Tamblyn authored on CD ROM, both of
which were on the topic of gender:

"She Loves It, She Loves It  Not:  Women in Technology" was shown in the
Art Show at ISEA 94 in Helsinki,  and  profiled in Leonardo 28, no. 2
(1995) p. 99-104,  as well as in "Mistaken Identities: An interactive CD
ROM Genealogy" profiled in Leonardo 30, no. r (1996) p. 265.

Both of these original interactive works are exceptional insights about
women, gender and technology. The memorial CD ROM offers the necessary
background on Tamblyn and allows access to original documents, images and
ideas, to give any viewer the tools to deconstruct her work, and have a
primary experience with her innermost thoughts, questions, and insightful
overview on contemporary media art.

Archival Quality is distributed by LACPS for $15.
Contact: Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies, laps@primenet.com.

Kathy Rae Huffman is Associate Professor of Electronic Art at Rensselaer
Polytechnic Institute (USA), and an ISEA Board member.


Utrecht, The Netherlands
May 11-16, 1999

Review by Sandra Dametto

Held each Spring in Utrecht, Impakt describes itself as an international
festival of "idiosyncratic audiovisual art". The central meeting place
(Brandweerkazerne), which housed the main festival desk, also served as a
host space for installations, the Couch.club, the Videogallery, and as
party central for food and drink. Within a stone's throw, eight additional
venues provided screens, gallery and club space for festival events.

Events and screenings were structured around two major programs that
reflected the different ways that organizers go about soliciting and/or
classifying works. Thematic programs promised to focus on "current social
or artistic developments". This year, an array of writers, musicians, and
media artists were collected under the rubric of six distinct motifs:
Turntablism (music), Berlin Berlin (music), RE:collections (films/videos),
Candid? (films/videos), The Experience (event), and Extrusions (off-site
works). In contradistinction to this, the Panorama program promised an
overview of the best new a/v productions: films, videos, installations,
cdroms, and websites. This year, attendees shuffled between 10
installations, 9 cdroms/websites, and 70 film/video works. With so much to
do and so little time, I scaled my interests down to two key areas: cdroms
and film/video screenings.

Cdroms and websites were housed on three computers available in the
Brandweerkazerne. Unfortunately, little consideration was paid to the
presentation of computer based works. As with other festivals, all too
often stations are squeezed in to any available space, notably high traffic
areas. The inevitable result is that one must compete with a barrage of
sounds in order to attend to the headset, which makes serious consideration
of the work difficult. Luckily, I had previously come across the excellent
Where Where There There Where (Zoe Beloff & the Wooster Group, U.S.A.) on
the Web (albeit in condensed form). Regretfully, I found myself struggling
to concentrate on the promising Postfuturistic Encyclopedia (Staffan
Backlund, Sweden) and the ironic critique of Microsoft found in Map
Msn-Adult Playground 1.0 (Joan Leandre, Spain).

Within the Panorama program, the general commitment in programming appeared
to lean towards the "experimental". Sometimes this meant encountering
amateur work (tapes without titles or soundtracks were surprisingly
commonplace), other times polished gems. Amateur work however, is not
in-and-of-itself a bad thing. Often, work that is saddled with such a label
is valuable for its politics or candor, for its approach, or technique, its
energy or vitality; qualities often lacking in the conventional tapes found
in more "professional" festival programs. In this sense, the
diamond-in-the-rough that is missing a soundtrack or a credit roll is
hardly a problem. The question of amateurism however, becomes more critical
when faced with work that lacks temporal direction or relies on one idea -
or technical achievement - for it's aesthetic rationale. Impakt's Panorama
program offered a diversity of work from the amateur to the sublime.

As with most festivals, the buzz on the "must see" comes from the
experience of sitting through one too many programs with few too many
exceptional works. While it is always exciting to attend festivals for the
chance to encounter new artists and ideas, sometimes one needs to find
shortcuts to the best of the fest. The Videogallery provided just that sort
of opportunity. As a collaborative project between five international
festivals: the European Media Arts Festival (Germany), L'Imagine Leggera
(Italy), International Festival of New Film and Video (Croatia), VIPER
(Switzerland) the Videogallery presented a selection of tapes from each
festival's lastest program. The emphasis is largely on each country's
national productions but not at the expense of exceptional works from other
Of the installations, one high point was the off-site work of American
artist Mark Bain. Bain's project is to take structures and ring them - like
a bell - to create a resonant sound. The interest, as he put it, is
twofold:  "to infect architectural structures with energy" and to "add the
structure's sound to the environment". Particularly fond of bridges
(metallic structures, he notes, ring well), Bain once rang the Boston
Harbor Bridge which at some 200 meters created not only a low frequency
ring but visible motion. At the DEAF Festival in Rotterdam he strapped
resonators onto columns which turned the structures into vibrating strings.
At Impakt, Bain's Transient Vehicle Project involved attaching various
oscillators to a large shipping container located just outside of the
Brandweerkazerne. The sonic vibrations sent tremors through neighbouring
buildings and had at least one local resident in a tizzy over the rattling
windows. At the Couch.club (an informal forum for guest artists to discuss
their work) the artist assured his audience that these wave-inducing
experiments wouldn't send buildings crashing to the ground. His credentials
from MIT, where he studied architecture and art, gave some reassurance to
those who later stepped directly into the freight container to experience
the sonic sensorium in full effect.

Ten years in the running, Impakt offers a unique mix of new media,
audiovisual arts and music. As a festival committed to showcasing
independent media arts productions, Impakt appears particularly well suited
to those works that fall outside of mainstream expectations. It is a
festival where one is certain to find the extraordinary, the unorthodox and
the unexpected.

Sandra Dametto is an independent producer/director and media artist living
in Montreal.


ISEA NEWSLETTER ===========================================================

Editor: Katarina Soukup / Translation: Michel Lefebvre, Marie-Andrée
Charron Collaborators: Carlos Soldevila, Eva Quintas, Natalie Melancon,
Sandra Dametto, Old Boys Network , Kathy Rae Huffman.

ISEA, 3530 boul. Saint-Laurent, suite 305, Montreal (Qc), H2X 2V1, CANADA
Tel: (514) 847-8912, Fax: (514) 847-8834 email: isea@isea.qc.ca
URL: http://www.isea.qc.ca
ISEA Board Members: Nina Czegledy, Kathy Rae Huffman, Amanda McDonald
Crowley, Alain Mongeau, Cynthia Beth Rubin, Thecla Shiphorst, Atau Tanaka,
Wim van der Plas.

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