Conditions of Media Arts

Conditions of Media Arts
October 1 – 3, 1999, Dortmund
(Speaches and discussions in englisch)
– Daniel García Andújar, artist
– Tobias Berger, curator
– Heath Bunting, artist
– Christine Meierhofer, artist
– Heiner Holtappels, MonteVideo, Amsterdam
– Mike Stubbs, artist, Hull TBA
– Herwig Turk, artist
– Thomas Munz, Werkleitz/EMARE
– Karin Frei, curator, Zürich
– Ekkerhard Kähne, Medienhaus Hannover
– Thorsten Schilling, mikro, Berlin
– Hermann Nöring, EMAF, Osnabrück
– Iris Dressler / Hans D. Christ, curators
Friday, October 1
start: 6 p.m.
Introduction: Iris Dressler, Hans D. Christ
Heath Bunting (artist): presentation of recent projects, a.o.
“Superweed Kit 1.0”
Daniel García Andújar (artist): presentation of recent projects.
visite Technologies To The People at:
Saturday, October 2
start: 11 a.m.
Summary of the last day
Mike Stubbs (artist, Hull Time Based Arts): Turning Grit into Gold.
Visite Hull Time Based Arts at:
Herwig Turk and Christine Meierhofer (artists):
presentation of recent projects and the project HILUS
(Statements see below)
Thorsten Schilling (mikro, Berlin):
presentation of the infrastructurs/projects of mikro, Berlin
Break / lunch: 2 p.m.
start: 3 p.m.
Thomas Munz (Werkleitz/EMARE):
presentation of the infrastructurs/projects of Werkleitz and EMARE =
European Media Artists in Residence Exchange
Tobias Berger (curator, Kassel): presentation of projects
Karin Frei (curator, Zürich): presentation of projects, a.o. “Ideal”, a
video lounge organized by Karin Frei and Florian Wüst at the ship MS
Waldstätter (1999) and “Play it again”
Iris Dressler / Hans D. Christ (curators): presentation of projects
Sunday, October 3
Start: 11 a.m.
Summary of the last day
Heiner Holtappels (Netherlands Media Art Institute, MonteVideo/TBA,
Amsterdam): presentation of the infrastructurs/projects of MonteVideo
Hermann Nöring (EMAF, European Media Art Festival, Osnabrück):
presentation of the infrastructurs/projects of EMAF
Ekkerhard Kähne (Medienhaus Hannover): presentation of the
infrastructurs/projects of Medienhaus Hannover
End: circa 3 p.m.
Statements Christine Meierhofer / Herwig Turk:
Minds are more interesting than machines
HILUS existed from 1991 to 1997. During that period we had a lot of time to
think about structuring a platform that deals with art and new technologies
according to the artists needs and our requirements for a working environment.
Our main conclusion from this process was:
It makes more sense to invest in people to work with, than in equipment. The
following is a list of reasons that lead us to this statements
– Keeping a complex environment running uses up a lot of energy and human
resources. Most of the time an independent platform uses the biggest part of
their energy on maintenance and acquisition.
– Since technology and prices chance rapidly, it seems most efficient to split
the requirements for equipment in basic needs (equipment for everyday use,
like office-, webstuff- , basic imaging-, sound- and video- equipment) and
special needs (for artistic projects, like high end and digital video and
sound processing, 3D-realtime and so on). While special needs change with
every project it is usually more efficient to provide the organizer of a
project with a budget for special requirements. This will make things a lot
easier than trying to implant a project into an existing environment with the
wrong configuration.
– It is much more helpful to have consultants and producers who know how to
structure and produce the project than a lab. People with good connections,
who can criticizes and discuss with the organizer of a project on many levels
can help to clarify the project and save money. Therefore an interesting
mixture of people who are willing to exchange their points of view is most
– Parasites: Since universities and media centers are already offering
expensive studios/laboratories with equipment it seems better to invest in
cooperations and collaborations.
– In addition to that the existance of many small groups who own production
units offer a wide range of possibilities. Once again a person with knowledge
of such groups is most valuable.
– Every project needs its own environment. Sometimes a gallery space,
sometimes a studio, sometimes a café or a factory …
– To have a central unit for lectures, presentations and meetings is
essential, but to have a big presentation space uses up a lot of resources for
programming and just running the space.
– Existing art institutions (kunsthalle or kunstverein) run spaces anyway and
special locations are an advantage for the individual events, because it makes
them unique.
– Mobile and flexible architecture is always needed. But to store architecture
or adept it seems too much of an effort.
– What seems most important is that the presentation correlates with the time
you need to explore the piece. E.g. if there is an installation which needs 15
minutes of concentration and a relaxed position – it is necessary to provide
that kind of situation. It is better to concentrate on one perfect environment
instead of showing a wide range of different pieces that can’t be presented
– Again consultants and producers can be more important than space and
Conditions of reception:
– Most importantly the atmosphere in the space around the projects should
correlate with the time you need to explore them (see above)
– If you have projects that need a lot of attention and concentration it is
better to reduce the amount of participating pieces to give the visitor a fair
chance to have a close look on every detail.
– To install a library and/or videothek and /or a webterminal which store
information about the artists in the show is always helpful.
– Again it seems more important to invest in translation, documentation and
services (guided tours) of well-installed shows or presentations, than to show
as many artists as possible (festivals do that quite often).
Statemnets Iris Dressler / Hans D. Christ
1. Production Conditions
Which models of decentralised and/or interdisciplinary infra-structures for
media arts do exist ? How do they work? What are their problems?
Approaches: Global networking inevitably brings with it infrastructures
which are shut-off from the “global-network incompatible” (compatibility is
meant here not as merely a question of technological access, but also ,for
example, a question of language). | An interdiscipliary approach in the
area of media arts cannot reduce the reliance of art upon science/industry
as service provider and conversely. |…
Are “ideal” production conditions for media arts too strongly projected
onto the quantity and quality of the “techno-pool”? (How can “ideal”
production conditions be conceptualised under substantive/ theoretical
How is the euphoria of cultural policy and industry to be judged with
respect to media arts? (“Ideal” production conditions require a stable
financial background. Where do the dangers of a cultural policy collection
such as the commercialisation of media arts lie?)
Approaches: The liason of art, cultural policy and commerce must be looked
over a new in relation to the new technologies. Cultural policy
increasingly argues for the commercialisation of art, whereby the resources
are reserved primarily for “Events” and “Entertainment”. Industry has a
great interest in the positive discourse of new technologies. Media Arts
Spectaculars are embraced and promoted through cultural policy as well as
from industry. |
2. Presentation Conditions
What are “ideal” presentation conditions for video, video instal-lations,
computer-assisted installations, “net-art”?
Are projects such as “Hybrid Workspace” at documenta x or “Open X” at the
Ars Electronica 1997 “Zukunftsmodelle” [Future Models] in this sense
simultaneous communication, production and presentation?
In the area of computer-assisted installations (interactive art), just as
with “net-art”, the point often seems to be “experimental orderings” and/or
“material examination”. To what extent can/must this status be mediated
through the mode of presentation?
Approaches: For video arts and video installations, presentation forms
beyond the “monitor-on-a-pedestal” have been found and established. More
problematic is the presentation of “net-art”. It is clear that “net-art”
must take place on the net. At the same time, there is a great need for the
mediation of “net-art” (on the side of both the artist and the public)
which cannot take place only on the net: the reception of “net-art”
requires for example a “net-competence” which must first be aquired. | The
Internet is neither a purely public nor private space; and a space in the
classical sense it certainly is not. The question must be posed as to the
reception of “net-art” whether from within or from outside the net. | Since
the net and (computer-assisted) interactive art are still being tested, it
is obvious to develop presentation forms which involve also the production
and communication infrastructure. The problems involved in show-casing
artistic “do´s” or, as the case may be, “laboratory situations” have been
3. Reception Conditions
What is an interactive recipient (a SpectActeur)?
Approaches: The discourse of new reception structures which should be made
possible through computer-assisted interactive installations of art appears
questionable. Interactive installations rarely go beyond a
stimulus-reaction scheme and/or multiple choice structure. They allow the
observer often only a set limited selection of perception, call-up and
interaction modes which are hidden behind the gesture that the observer can
be “freely-involved-and-mix-in”. The question of status of the
interpretation assigned to the artist, work and observer hardly matter any
more; but rather the genuine categories are presummed and, as such,
exceeded. | …

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