Tina LaPorta on Sun, 27 Sep 1998 21:28:31 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> Screens and Memes: a report from NYC

Screens and Memes: a report from NYC
by Tina LaPorta

Remove the "thing" that stands in between the artist and her audience--
toss the ball out and let your viewers complete the process. The issue of
"immediation" which Hakim Bey has discussed extensively in texts such as
TAZ were central to the discussion on the creative process at Harvestworks
this September. An Artist Forum was organized by myself (one of the
exhibiting artists in the show) along with other artists: Mark Coniglio of
Troika Ranch, Tennesee Rice Dixon, Zoe Beloff and the famed Jaron Lanier.

While the exhibition was a mixture of video works created by Steina
Vesulka, Lynn Hershman and Mary Lucier;  a series of video tapes which
documented a live experimental music performance by Jaron Lanier were also
shown.  Newer forms of digital media were presented on computer monitors:
CD-Rom works by Tennesee
 Rice Dixon, Art Jones and Zoe Beloff.  A web presentation  of a dance
performance by Troika Ranch as well as my own net.works created over the
past year were made accessible to a local nyc audience for the first time.

Each artist in the show was given her own video monitor/playback deck or
computer system, this enabled viewers visiting the show to interact with
each work individually. Since the environment for the show is not a
traditional gallery space,  this "individual workstation" approach to the
presentation of these works was conceived by the director of Harvestworks,
Carol Parkinson. In fact, this was Harvestworks first exhibition (it is
primarily a production studio hosting an artist-residency program.)

The first day the show opened to the public was an interesting opportunity
to watch how the viewers intuitively moved through the space, from each
work to the next-- whether it was a video display or an interactive digital
work which appeared to capture their total attention. And because every
work in the show contained audio each station had a headphone attachment,
this gave each viewer the opportunity to sit back in a comfortable chair
and "own" the work for as long as they were willing to give to it.  Whether
they were viewing a videotape or interacting with a digital work one thing
is certain, this audience is a flexible one which can easily adjust to the
requirements of each piece: willing to enter it's multi-sensory world
without hesitation.

The image of an anonymous viewer sitting down with headphones on, watching
the flickering images on the screen in front of her, is forever burned into
my mind..... Is it isolation we are re-creating? Or Intimacy?

Tina LaPorta
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