Robert Adrian on Fri, 7 Feb 97 02:26 MET

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nettime: Re:net-radio experiments

>Net-radio Experiments - how broad do you cast?

The interesting (exciting?) thing about Live RealAudio is that it isn't
"Broadcast" ... if you can manage to get 100 people tuning into a RealAudio
server at the same time it is not only an amazing achievment but it also
tends to crash the  server. This may be one of Beusch/Cassani's hidden
ironies in the clever "Web-Crash" fiction.

What Bruno Beusch and Tina Cassani have been doing for years is
developing a kind of non-narrative fiction involving the fusion and
exploitation of various media. A Beusch/Cassani fiction includes
everybody hearing or viewing the piece - there is no "audience". Last
night, in "The Great Web Crash Party", we each had our role in the event,
even if it was a role we had to invent for ourselves ... some of us were
merely "witnesses".

The spread of media used in the "Web Crash Party" was very exciting.
But who do YOU know who has gear at home that can handle 3 or 4
CUseeme windows, an IRC line and a RealAudio stream simultaneously.
I went over to the Kunstradio installation at the Austrian Radio in Vienna
and was able to see/hear it all.

Andreas Broeckmann wrote:
>. . . . . . . . . . . . . The danger with such a new mediatic situation is
>that it
>easily creates a non-event that serves mainly as a technical experiment
>for using the Net for radio and live-links.
>I think that it will be necessary to think critically about more practical
>uses of the media-coupling, and about what does and what doesn't make
>sense in mixing old and new media.

Hmmm .... I would have thought that creating a new kind of multi-layered
fictional form that makes use of the unique qualities of the WWW was a
fairly "practical" use of the Net. As a rule artists are very good at pushing
media up to - and beyond - their limits, but interesting (good) artworks
seldom have any one clear "reading". Its the tension of conflicting "readings"
that gives art its power. This is what makes art so unsuitable for
propoganda uses ... if its got a single clear message its probably good for
sales but its pretty boring as art.
Last night Beusch/Cassani's "Web Crash" piece showed both the strengths
and weaknesses of radio/Internet media-fusion - it was very exciting for
the elite who had access to high-powered gear and a non-starter for the
silent majority. We knew it all before but last night we had our noses
rubbed in it ... I think that, for that reason alone, it was an important
event. And VERY practical.

As for the idea of "old" and "new" media is a medium which has only
been around in its present form for about 35 years ... so how "new" is new?
After its military beginnings in WW1, radio developed as a communications
medium but was very quickly appropriated by commercial interests(U.S.A.)
or by governments (Europe) and the "Ham" operators were squeezed into
the hobby corner. The dreams of the radio pioneers of a new age of wireless
communications had been smothered by Dr.Goebbels and Proctor&Gamble by
1935. In this sense the Internet and WWW can be understood a resurrection
of the early spirit of radio.

Robert Adrian

*Art should concern itself as much with behavior as it does with
appearance* - Norman T. White

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