geert on Mon, 14 Sep 1998 18:24:27 +0200 (MET DST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> reports from ars electronica 98

[these are the reports from the infowar ars electronica 98 festival,
written for the web magazine by manuel schilcher, erik kluitenberg,
josephine bosma and geert lovink, see also
the same group also made four two-hour live (net/local) radio
programs with a lot more interview, soon available as a sound archive
with seperate files at - look for Acoustic Space]


manuel schilcher=20
how to survive in new york without funding=20
interview with prema murthy --

what made you guys decide to put together a space?

the reason for a central location for us was, cause as an media artist you
deal with a lot of equipment, technology and it was a big hazzle lot of
time and energy to howl all this equipment around for a one night gig or
even for a week. so we wanted to have one central location which could
also be our workspace.=20

how do you fund your workspace in williamsburg ?

our own projects didn't bring enough money for paying the rent. so we
brought in other media artists doing their shows and could bring their
stuff and leave it there. but you need liquor licence for selling alcohol
and a cabaret-licence to charge entry fees. -- so we could not established
the space but still bring in money with beer and wine and donations at the
door. we have also day jobs to organize the space and doing our art. its a
small pie of art funding in new york. with media work its a different
market then the traditional art-forms. there where not many galleries to
accept this as art form. its mainly a performance space now, like theater.
media based.=20

is there a infrastructure where you can sell the output of your work?

we wanna focus on additional products out of our events. like cd, video
and sell it via the net. because its better for us to do it ourself,
cutting the middleman. it's new for us and for sure it=B4s still lacking a
pretty broad audience. but it's better for us to do it ourself.

you would like to go in a new direction with fakeshop?=20

the ideal situation would be to have it running all the time. if people
could come all the time. to have a kind of collective for the
neighbourhood, where people can come and hang out. do there work. we have
not this financial network in new york, there is more a social network. it
would be a kind of new model for new york, to have this infrastructure as
labor situation. a friendly place for artists to work together.=20

when I would start this here I would know where to go to get money, how
you handle this in new york?=20

I have noticed here in austria there is a lot of money and a lot of
artists are like happy cats. doing what they need to do and it kind of
slows down the creative impuls and this hungriness. in new york artists
are not fed very well but there is a lot of stimulation and a lot of
hungry people. you are not tight to this traditional established ways to
get money so your ideas can be a little more out there in a way a little
more experimental.

would there be another place for you to stay?=20

part of the reason why I travelled now through europe was to see if there
are another locations to work. And I think Lisbon could be a place. there
is not a really a big scene out there, the city itself is total decaned
but there is a young scene with a lot of creative energy, people start
there own business. but the energy in new york is to strong I would miss

prema murthy diane luden


Eric Kluitenberg
InfoWar Reflection #1=20

This should be the first of a small series of informal notes from the Ars
Electronica Festival 1998, which devotes itself to the theme InfoWar
(you all know that). And there is a regular infowar going on, it seems,
in the lobby of the Bruecknerhaus, where experimental soundscapes
continuously bombard our senses, deregulating and disinforming them,
dissociating understanding from perception, competing for wetware input
channels, in the face of adverse machinic output channels that crowd the
environment in abundance.=20

Yesterday there was a relative calm (before the storm? - no desert this
time though!). We were enjoying the calm view on the River Danube, flowing
softly along the banks of the city Linz. The paysan scene was hardly=20
reminiscent of the electronic disorder that was impeding upon us, within a
matter of a few hours. Yesterday we muttered words in the net, and the air
even, as we watched the sun set over the river and some distant hills,
while we interviewed some of the distinguished guests of the festival and
the InfoWar symposium.=20

Meanwhile, today (Tuesday) the symposium has started off, in a tightly
structured academic proceeding, completely remote from the=20
info-pandemonium that awaits the =B4innocent=B4 visitor outside of the quie=
lecture hall.=20

The talks opened a predictable path of discourse. The grand war machines
of the post-industrial era as the production sites for the contemporary
formats of the InfoWar products. Much implied secrecy, non-disclosures and
semi-disclosures, partly by the people we are lead to believe operate in
the very belly of the beast on a daily basis. This is the
institutionalised version of InfoWar, the official intelligence complots
and exploits, a world of wonder and danger, maybe adventure..? But always
a war machine, waging its effort against a perceived enemy, clear or
abstract. The strategic arena of information and dis-information tactics,
of perceptual de-stabilisation, of informatic security and transgression.

This institutionalised version of InfoWar is countered by it=B4s logical an=
necessary counter-part, the InfoTerror, individualist and small-scale
autonomous action against the corporate, state and global players. The
destructive gestures of the aggressive mega-hacker. No longer a game, but
a serious attempt to destabilise whatever order apparently needs to become=
the object of the attack.=20

Yesterday I talked with Stefan Wray of the Electronic Disturbance Theater
about his concept of bottom-up information warfare and more importantly
electronic civic disobedience. Wray=B4s approach to info-action (perhaps
more than *war*) in effect seems to point towards a third way, out of the
dichotomy of InfoWar and InfoTerror. With their real blockades of targeted
web sites via "virtual sit-ins", the floodnet system, enabling any visitor
to trigger an auto-reload sequence which when operated with the right
critical mass of active floodnet visitors blocks the site, they propose a
model for collective civil info-action. It emphasises the social dimension
of the Net, where only through collective action a real effect is
achieved, and can be achieved by engaging the critical mass of individuals
into a collective civil disobedience action.

Collective info-action is a new tool to dismantle the neo-liberal
mythologies of the cyber-sphere, and re-locate the net discourse in the
very heart of society and all its inherent social, political and cultural
debates, contradictions, and shared and contested beliefs, where it



manuel schilcher=20
the curators and art workers need to be educated=20
radioqualia- honor hagar=20

radioqualia is a an independent radiostation, its exits on a server
runned by a small company in adelaide which supports us. running 24 hours
like a radiostation playlist.=20

can you make a kind of living out of it?

no its a completly volunteer project there is no way now, how we could
make any money out of it.  I work in the organizaton of australian
network for art and technology and Adam at the moment is unemployed. In
australia there is recently a well structured government funding and there
is a council the new media arts fund. new media is in their language about
cross-media art forms and its looking at technology based art. so in
theory radioquallia could get art funding there and we maybe sucessfull
but we haven=B4t done that yet. we want to maintain radioqualia=B4s=20
independence from financial structures and I don=B4t think there would be a
possibility to make it a financially viable entity.=20

you work on selling products also?

we rarely produced cd-collection of the soundmaterial which is on
radioqualia also a cd-rom. but we have no intention of selling it, we give=
it away as a record of the relationsship with radioqualia. also to give it
to people who have no access to the internet. we also do projects in
galery situations but we have no illusions to make money at all. In
australia there is a raw network of art galleries called chaos  -
contemporary art organistaions and some of those galleries have the
capacity and desire to engaging with technology and exhibit network based
projects. we looking now in the possibillity of exhibiting the project we
are showing here - the frequency clock - this would be similary an
installation and a network based project and hearable on local FM radio

Is there is a kind of gallery structure for media art?

I think we are lucky in australia, but I know the struggle with exhibiting
this new technology.  Where I work, in australian network for art and
technology we identified many reasons why this is the case. And one of the
key reasons is that the curators and art workers need to be educated to
exhibit this kind of work. It=B4s not a lack of space but a lack of
understanding. There are places to go as an artist. Adalaide is pretty
well connected with fiber optics. But we could not do the work we do for
example in Austria. The network costs in Australia are very low. It would
be completly financially inviable.=20 =20


a tuesday report=20
networks and festivals=20

Tuesday morning. All systems are operational. Unlike previous years,
the Ars Electronica Festival has started a few days earlier due to the
extending time to install an ever growing amount of computers. The
complicated media arts installations have moved away from the conference
scene, into the regular museum and galleries. Instead, a variety of
network projects have moved in. What they display is the usually
invisible, social aspect of human communication. When the Internet topic
for the first time was discussed, here in Linz, in 1995, the public
terminals remained isolated, expressing the then dominant view of the
surfing cyberpunk. Last year, the =B4Remote C=B4 network space for the firs=
time tried to visualize the emerging diversity of networked culture in
which groups, individuals and so-called =B4communities=B4 are collaborating
(or just doing their thing). The theme of last year was the much hyped
phenomenon of Douglas Rushkoff just mentioned, here at the
symposium, that communication as such, the essence of the Net, is
resisting commodification. Corporations can only sell information.
And festivals cannot put the Net on display. WWW presentations are boring,
by definition, if the audience can anyway klick its way through the site
later on.=20

Open X this year is featuring audio, sound and radio projects. On the
balcony of the Bruecknerhaus, overlooking the rainy Danube river
landscape, there is a long battery of PCs, laptops and more traditional
radio gear. It is a lose connection between the official ORF-Kunstradio
(Austrian audio art program), the brand new local FRO station, which
started broadcasting only last Sunday, and the Net-based Xchange network,
which was able to bring over 25 people from England, Latvia, Hungary,
Australia, Germany etc. The mailinglist was established even less then a
year ago. It is a primerily a social space, exhanging theory and practice,
coordinating live webcasts. Xchange is one of the few projects which is
being initiated and coordinated from former Eastern Europe, Riga in this
case, by e-Lab. Like the smooth 2mbit link up with c3, used for both radio
and video linkups, the wishes and demands for an intergration of that part
of Europa now seems to come a step further, also thanks to the efforts of
the syndicate network.=20


what you see is ...=20

not that much. Even if I like the idea of a colaborated working space,
which could be fun if there also would be pizza delivery and cold coke.
I don=B4t think the Festival of Ars Electronica is filling the gap.  =20

It=B4s overfilling the cup. Two days symposium, 56 hours live=20
netbroadcasting, a hacker conference and all of the invited people working
on their own projects.  So Oliver Marchart is more than right when he
calls it a closed social system which also creates its own public. Ars
just happens.=20

And now with a lot of closed information circuits running parallel like
they would not share the same hotel, restaurant and airplane. Radio goes
net and back, nobody is hacking this and the last 3D worlds don=B4t care
about anything out of SGI.=20

It could been easily split in 3 to 5 small festivals with less technical
overhead and more long-term tendencies. And we could watch Virilio on ARTE
and discuss it in the net. =20

Or take the money for a trip to Southsomewhere, bring your Laptops and
Television Companies, it would make no difference for local artists or=20
public. Both where not seen till now.=20

Maybe a international working space like Open-X for two weeks would be
enough to do. Maybe we could try to make communication more transparent
between the participants. Maybe we shouldn=B4t care. We will see what we


Josephine Bosma=20
hackers and everyday horror=20
session two, day one, at Ars Electronica points out the abundance of
bad security surrounding us=20

When I arrived on the airport of Linz, Lucky Green turned out to have been
on the same plane. Lucky Green is a cypherpunk, who was also at Hacking
In Progress in Holland last year. He told me he was going to be on a=20
panel, and had two choices as to what to talk about: his usual talk about
encryption and how important and great it is, or he could tell everybody
about the dangers he sees lurking in our present and near future society.
In case he would choose the latter, the audience would run away scared.
=B4Scare me=B4, I said. Well, it almost happened. In the panel I just watch=
Lucky Green, Joichi Ito and Michael Wilson talked about what infowar means
to them in these times, who practices it, how =B4they=B4 practice it and
why. There was such an enormous amount of scary details that it became
supernatural or rather unbelievable. It gave the impression of watching a
good horror movie, and I had a very good time. Multiple examples were
illustrating the possibilities for potential terrorism, actual hacks
already performed, and of silly security and defense measures. The
overload of details was so much that it was impossible to actually feel
scared, it seemed more like an absurd piece of theatre most of the time.
The panelists were serious though, as I found out later in an interview
with them during the newshour the webmagazine team also makes
from here. After some talk about the effectiveness of for instance the
actions of Floodnet, an initiative also presented at OpenX, both Michael
Wilson and Lucky Green refused to give examples of good use of actual
net.activism. The reasoning behind their refusal was: we have to protect
the particular projects and people.

Their concern seems a bit out of place, though. I got a bit annoyed with
it, as all the talking from the gentlemen about knowing the real practice
and knowing the tools had of course made me curious for some =B4tangible=B4
data. It would for instance have been very possible for them to give a
plausible example constructed from different ones that would not reveal
anything from the real world.  My overall impression was that even though
there seemed to be a little bit of machismo involved, which maybe comes
with the job of cyberwarrior, the actual conclusions they delivered was
important enough. What their message comes down to is: where once it took
a whole army and a lot of material to produce a massive attack with lots
of casualties, it now takes only one idiot with a computer.  The way to
fight this =B4new=B4 kind of terrorism would be to first examine the=20
motivation and mindset of the perpetrator, and design protection with the
outcome of this in mind.  Next to this everyone should learn how to defend
themselves. We need education in security, and we need it badly. It would
have been a nice start if we could have had that example we needed of
effective infowar actions. The way it was now it stayed a bit too
mystified. More workshops and simple, popular websites please!=20
A last tip from the front: the millenium problem would be best fixed with
a foodsuply for at least six months and a gun on the shelf.=20


Josephine Bosma=20 subcurrent=20 might enter the Premio Italia next year=20

Derrick De kerckhove of the Marshal MacLuhan institute in Toronto
yesterday had a video conference with Paul Virilio here at Ars
Electronica. We met and discussed completely other things. As you know
there is an important section of the artfield present at OpenX
this year. Derrick DeKerckhove was very interested in the work of the
individual artists and the networks of people behind it, as he is the
president of the jury of the Premio Italia =B498 in the city of Asisi,
Italy, this year. The Premio Italia is a television prize, but this year
there is also a websection to it. Appearantly there are 20 websites
selected from 150 submissions, from both radio and television stations all
over the globe.  Five radiowebsites and 15 television websites from mostly
commercial broadcasters compete for who has the best webproject.=20

The presentations of both ORFKunstradio and Xchange in Linz this year have
made Derrick DeKerckhove decide to put an emphasis on art webcasting in
the jurymeetings. Unfortunetaly it is too late for new entries for the
Premio Italia now, but surely next year artprojects will be a vital part
of this =B4broadcasting=B4 prize. It is very likely some artists working on
the webcasting in Linz this year will be on the list of selections for the
Premio Italia in 1999.=20


manuel / oliver=20
there's an economy of guilt=20
mongrel - interview with graham harwood=20

do you need an international reputation for getting funds?=20

there=B4s an economy of guilt. the economy of guilt is one in which the art=
in the UK gives 76% of the money to class A and B - that=B4s the top of the
society. so we can say, we put in the money but you don=B4t give it to us,
we=B4re like poor, we=B4re black, whatever. so you have to give us the mone=
otherwise  it is unfair. so that=B4s our economy - our economy is one of=20
guilt. that=B4s the nature of the arts, it=B4s kind of "they have to have a
certain amount of black people they give the money to, they have to have
to have a certain amount of irish people...". you can use that=20
classification as a way of levering money.
there=B4s a set of discriminations around the way you speak and the way tha=
you act. you can=B4t do art if you come from that position or if you want
to talk  about class. that=B4s not really what art is about in the UK. if
you want to give up that identity then you can but you have to know=20
there=B4s a certain cost - if you want to be an artist you can=B4t be part =
the working class at the same time or mention it.

you have studio or a place where people meet for work?

we used to have a place, cause most of the people were in the training
programs, the european social programs. in the last 5 years it was very
easy to set things up. there were lots of openings because the technology
was new and i think that goverments especially in europe wanted to see
that the technology is hiking up - it was easier to get money. now, i
think the technology is established it is much harder to acquire the
i think it=B4s easer to get money for a place than a project. Mongrel had
a place within these European social programs but we we forced out when
they started to tighten up. They started to get more clear about what the
social program with technology in europe was about. It wasn=B4t about=20
opening spaces, it was about transferring skills. It wasn=B4t about making
opportunities and cross a cultural border, it was about money, it wasn=B4t
about anything else.
so now Mongrel is a core membership of 3 and we=B4re trying to decide=20
whether to run a center the would be open access or whether instead we
should use a series of portable equipment and just set up whereever we
need to.

what do you expect from a festival like this?=20

i think from what i am seeing on the openx side of this it=B4s beginning
to look right. it=B4s beginning to look right, people are talking among
themselves. there seems to be a bit of "this is mine", "my product" or

do you think there should be a point where people say "that=B4s enough

i think people do. with the first piece of work i travelled to 18=20
countries in 18 months and did something like 24 shows. i was totally=20
exhausted by the end of it and stopped doing it, so i didn=B4t travel
for more than a year and stopped doing anything like that. and because
before that i hadn=B4t travelled anyway so the idea of going to these place=
was very exciting. there=B4s lots of things that=B4s useful with that and
lots that are not.
like "rehearsal of memory" moved past the point of successful piece of
work for *me* cause it moved in to telecom companies. and i found myself
in the position of having made a work that was selling a level of
technology i had no idea of. so i very much had to get out of the festival
arena for a while and rethink what working was about.
so that=B4s why we now developped a lot of online web. we=B4re making searc=
engines and also taking a lot of existing software and puuting new=20
frontends on those such as taking commercial software, take frontend off,
add new frontend on it and then release it which works quite well and you
still make the point.=20

interview by manuel - transcribed by oliver


Eric Kluitenberg=20
InfoWar Reflection #2=20
A short note on invisibility=20

Late at night we stumbled in this neo-industrial building turned art site,
concrete tiles on the floor, open wall, well..., actually there was no
wall. On second thought it must have been more like a balcony. There was
this elongated structure in the middle, wide at the top, a triangle from
the front, ending in a point at the bottom. This seemed to work as a=20
It was lit orange from the inside, the material held by the metal frame=20
was an opaque kind of glass.=20
Elegantly dressed people, drinking wine and beer.
Paul Garrin was relating parts of the Name.Space saga, the closest thing
the AE incrowd ever came to waging actual InfoWar. Manuel was standing
across the room..., why wasn=B4t he invited? Someone said it while I was
thinking it. Of course I wasn=B4t daring enough to ask him straight up, but
then, maybe he wasn=B4t the one to decide to begin with.=20
At some point Paul made a brilliant observation, stating that one of the
defining characteristics of InfoWar is its invisibility. As soon as some
action, tactic, strategy becomes visible, it=B4s rendered ineffective. Fair
It implies something though; a serious restriction on what can be said
at all about this subject. Should we speak about something we cannot name?
Brushing Wittgenstein aside for a moment, I replied to Paul, ah this must
be the negative dialectics of InfoWar!
OK, this might have been a bit of an overly European reaction. Sorry for
that, but you know, it was late, we=B4d had quite a bit to drink by that
time... Interesting thought; can we only speak about InfoWar, by naming
what it is not?=20

#  distributed via nettime-l : no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a closed moderated mailinglist for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  URL:  contact: