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[Nettime-bold] Excerpts from "A Panel Discussion: " w/ Barbara London, J
cristine wang on 28 Feb 2001 07:04:34 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Excerpts from "A Panel Discussion: " w/ Barbara London, Jon Ippolito, Christiane Paul


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Title: Neural_review
[from: NY Arts Magazine International,
Vol. 6 No. 2 March 2001 (p. 67)]

[Excerpts from:]

"A Panel Discussion:
On the Presentation of Online Art
In Physical Space"

Held on January 6, 2001 in conjunction with the exhibition:
Dystopia + Identity in the Age of Global Communications Curated by Cristine Wang
at Tribes Gallery, NYC / www.tribes.org/dystopia

ANDY DECK (net.artist):
"Undoubtedly the internet is changing very quickly, and to the extent that our culture is affected by those changes, there is a role for art in articulating this correlation...The creation of favorable conditions in cyberspace may require a confrontation with laws that are already written and implemented.  The connection of physical gallery spaces and network-related art may offer an advantageous context for the staging of contradictions and unconventional perspectives.  Artists may use the latitude traditionally afforded to art in physical space to legitimate their inquiries into contentious cultural affairs."

RICARDO DOMINGUEZ (net.artist, Electronic Disturbance Theater):
"We try to translate a real event into a digital event; Basicray uses the notion of 'extended media object'...and while what we just did in re-translating a real gesture into the virtual could be what Diane Ludin calls a 're_fleshing of the network':  we play in this liminal space between the 'extended media object', and this 're_fleshing of the network'--not to say that there is an ostensive definition of truth between both values between the 'virtual' and 'real' ...but they can create or trace out a possibility that perhaps sidesteps the dystopia that we find ourselves in."

JON IPPOLITO (net.artist / curator new media arts, Guggenheim Museum):
"What can we do to accommodate the network ethic within a way that makes the museum more interesting than just an experience at home?  Nam June Paik in 1963 created a work called 'Random Access'. you've got a box the closest thing to a net.art browser:  a reel to reel magnetic tape.  Paik ripped opened the guts of the machine, tacked 50 odd pieces of pre-recorded tape onto the wall in a haphazard pattern and allowed viewers to grab the playback head, at whatever order or speed, using the medium of the time, an analog medium.  He used a method + ethic much more akin to online art, by giving complete freedom to the viewer; a solution to this random access problem."

BARBARA LONDON (curator video + media, MoMA):
"Nam June [Paik] said, 'It's all about communication--whether it's on the back of a camel or over the airwaves'..Often I make comparisons between the early days of video and the early days of the web...In another month we [MoMA] are going to roll out the first in a series of artist web projects, the first piece will be by Tony Oursler...We had a couple of kiosks at MoMA, where the web projects were seen, also I had wands, sound wands; this is just to say that in a museum, we do have a context, a cultural context...another thing you will see are databases, this collaboration with MoMA-Tate...I don't want to talk about 'branding' but I want to talk about context...But, I think that in putting artists work online, we still look back at the early days of cable: how do you bribe Yahoo or Google to put you as the first one in that series when you do a search on the subject?"

JENNY MARKETOU (net.artist):
"How to combine the physical and virtual space?  It was always very tempting for the audience looking into the computer of the internet, to go to check their email, to being part of the network...is creating an environment, that are like 'lounges', which allow my viewers to sleep, read, or to participate in the work; or just become part of the environment...How to engage the viewer in an 'open-sourcing' or 'open-coding project'--that they can participate not just by looking or doing something (similar trying to browse, or what they can do at home), but like an open source lounge: the viewers use the code and create their own extension to the project.  I found that to be another aspect of the internet that is quite positive.  For this show [Dystopia + Identity] I created my first photograph of my project [Smellbytes]...and here we are talking about the intangible object, and we need intelligent museums to house these works."

SAUL OSTROW (curator / critic Univ, Conn):
"What is the consequence of the presentation of the virtual, digital forms in real space?...(concerning the integration of virtual forms into the cultural mainstream)...The political side of this view that the digital has no natural environment, given it has multiple delivery systems, is the question:  'Does inclusion of such work within the context of such galleries, which are commercial ventures, advance the possibility of its commodification?'  The rhetorical answer lies in the fact that the web itself is a model of disembodied commerce, exploiting the myth of accessibility...Will we allow real works to be dissolved by virtual space?"

CHRISTIANE PAUL (curator new media arts, Whitney Museum):
"The obvious challenge in presenting digital art, is of course that you are not dealing with an art object anymore, but rather a fluid transition between manifestation of information.  Net.art is of course particularly challenging in this context, because the art has been created to be seen by everyone from any point in the world at any place, so showing it within a museum context creates a paradoxical situation in the first place...One of the ways is creating a kiosk, which means a recontextualisation of the work...You are redefining the work in many cases...[using] alternative interfaces (touchscreen, voice activation)...There are many works that use 'point and click' navigation, once you lose this, you lose the work...The future of our culture, is the challenge of creating these crossroads between the 'physical' and 'virtual' worlds."

MARK TRIBE (founder, Rhizome.org):
"I divide the world of online art into two main categories: 1) works meant to be experienced online, and 2) works created as hybrids (that have an online and offline component)...The history of art museums is really the history of trying to find ways to recontextualize cultural objects...It's meant to be a solitary experience...The premise of net.art is almost that it makes museums unnecessary...You end up with fiascos like the Whitney Museum's inclusion of net.art which really did violence to the paradigm in which the work was meant to be experienced...The new generation of shows, like the Whitney [Bitstreams] and SFMoma [010101] are trying to show the 'online' work online and the 'hybrid' work offline...The idea is only to show 'ephemera' related to net.art...that's how museums traditionally did with performance art: you don't try to show the work itself, but just its documentation--the 'ephemera'."

"I believe that there is a physicality to online work-- a very important physicality.  The input and output box are both very physical; there needs to be input to create something, there needs to be output to see something...the physicality of the output, a few elements that its composed of: ownership, accessibility, empowerment + disempowerment, and economy.  Politics, struggle we have with how / where / who to present to?...The way you create [the work] is invisible, the way you create the interface, the distribution, the context, equipment, physical constraints, economic constraints...What is the role of an institution: disempowerment / empowerment: is the struggle between Does it make sense? Does it work within the context? Does it do something for me? Yahoo is more important than MoMA in many ways...."


NY Arts Magazine International is a monthly journal on contemporary art practise.

available at:
major museum bookstores internationally, including the Dia Center (NY), Pompidou (Paris), MoMA (NY), New Museum (NY), Aoyama Bookcenter (Tokyo), Agora (Paris), Book Shop Maruzen (Tokyo), Sylvain Brentano's (Paris), as well as Rizzoli's, Barnes + Noble, Tower Records, Virgin Megastores, Worldwide...

we are also distributed at all major art fairs, including this year's : ARCO (Madrid), ArtBasel (Switzerland), and at the forthcoming Biennial (Venice)...

Abraham Lubelski
(Publisher, NY Arts Magazine)


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