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10 APRIL 2011

The Internet as Art: In the digital age, the medium is the new message

"Just as video and computer technology attracted pioneering artists in the 1960s and 1970s, the Internet today is inspiring artists to tinker with the possibilities and boundaries of the World Wide Web. What started as a playful and often tongue-in-cheek experimental venture by a few code-savvy artists in the early 1990s has grown into a global art movement that is attracting attention from museums and private collectors. Karlsruhe-based media museum Zentrum fuer Kunst und Medientechnologie, or ZKM, has been running a series of net.art exhibitions. Berlin's Digital Art Museum recently showed the video performance 'Hammering the Void,' by Gazira Babeli, the pseudonym for an artist who exists only in Second Life, an online virtual reality game.

Among the artists who first saw the potential for creative uses of the information superhighway were Belgrade-born Vuk Cosic and Amsterdam-based artist duo Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans, who perform under the pseudonym jodi on the Web. Their early digital works, much like the art being made today by Italian duo Eva and Franco Mattes - who call themselves 0100101110101101.ORG - often imitated or at least paid ironic homage to the clandestine machinations of computer hackers."

(Goran Mijuk, 29 July 2009, Wall Street Journal)

Fig.1 'T-Visionarium’ (2003-08), by Neil Brown, Dennis Del Favero, Jeffrey Shaw and Peter Weibel

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01012003artcodecreative practice • Dennis Del Favero • digital age • Digital Art Museum • digital cultureDirk Paesmans • error message • experimentationinteractive installationInternetJeffrey ShawJoan HeemskerkJODI (art collective)Karlsruhemedia artmediummedium is the messagemuseum • Neil Brown • net artnew mediaPeter WeibelpioneeringplayfulSecond Life • T-Visionarium • tinkertongue-in-cheekvideo artvideo performancevirtual realityZentrum fur Kunst und MedientechnologieZKM

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
10 APRIL 2011

Continue: from simple bifurcation to a graduated field of complexity

"*_Zu Beginn sind auf dem Bildschirm eine weiße und eine schwarze Fläche sichtbar, in denen Continue bzw. 'quit' geschrieben stehen. Entscheidet man sich per Mausklick für die zweite Möglichkeit verlässt man die Arbeit. Entscheidet man sich für die erste Variante, so verdoppelt sich jeweils die Zahl der Felder. Bald sind die sich stets verkleinernden Flächen nicht mehr als einzelne zu erkennen und mit der Maus ist kein eindeutige Wahl mehr zu treffen.

Continue ist eine minimalistische, konzeptuelle Arbeit, die immer wieder neu die immer gleiche Frage nach dem Fortsetzen des interaktiven Prozesses stellt."

(ZKM)

Fig.1,2,3 Dieter Kiessling (2002). 'Continue', artintact #4/2 in Jeffrey Shaw and Astrid Sommer Eds.'artintact', Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe

[The work progresses from distinct binary divisions identified as 'Quit' or 'Continue' to progressively smaller and smaller subdivisions creating an increasingly cinereous/greyer and more graduated field. In this way the work can be used as a metaphor to illustrate a type of complexity which Basil Bernstein describes as strong classification of discourse where 'the progression will be from concrete local knowledge, to the mastery of simple operations, to more abstract general principles' (2000, p.11).]

Bernstein, Basil. (2000). 'Pedagogy Symbolic Control and Identity, Theory Research Critique'. Oxford, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

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01011997abstractionartintactartistic practice • Astrid Sommer • bifurcationbinary • binary divisions • checkerboard • complexity • continue • Continue (Kiessling) • crisis of empiricismcritiquedatadesign formalism • Dieter Kiessling • DVD-ROM • graduated field • interactive designJeffrey Shawmetaphorpatternquitscalestrong classificationsubdivisionsZentrum fur Kunst und MedientechnologieZKM

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
09 MARCH 2005

The Virtual Room

"The VROOM will consist of an eight screen 360° rear projected stereoscopic display system. The system can be configured to be interactive with the use of wands and motion tracking devices, movement and immersive qualities will also be enhanced through the use of spatial soundscapes. The environment can be reconfigured to position the viewer into the interior or panoramic immersion (an octant enclosure), or perambulatory (or circumlocutory) exterior viewing (of a contained world)."

(Sarah Kenderdine)

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immersiveinteractionJeffrey Shawpanorama • Sarah Kenderdine • stereoscopicvirtual reality • Virtual Room • VR • VROOM
20 JULY 2004

Web Of Life: Network Of Lines On The User's Hands

Conceived as a multi-disciplinary project that conjoins art and science, Web of Life provides us with radical new insights into the underlying processes of nature, economy, and society. In Web of Life, visitors can activate and change the continuous, algorithmically generated images. The interactive medium is the network of lines on the user's hands, which they can scan for feeding into the network. Symbolising the "Web of Life", these palm-prints amount to the most personal element visitors can contribute to the overall pattern. The individual hand-lines will be displayed on the screen, together with information on the contributors' physical log-in location.Web Of Life project (2002-2005) - consisting of a book, a website and a series of networked installations. Authors: Torsten Belschner, Michael Gleich, Bernd Lintermann, Manfred Wolff-Plottegg, Jeffrey Shaw and Lawrence Wallen. Sponsored by the Aventis Foundation, Strasbourg, France and produced by the ZKM Centre for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, German.Australian presentations made with the generous support of the Goethe Institut, Sydney and the UNSW iCinema Centre for Interactive Cinema Research, Sydney. This event is part of the Australian Innovation Festival.

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algorithminteractiveJeffrey Shaw • palm-prints • UNSW • Web of Life • ZKM
10 JUNE 2004

Jeffrey Shaw: Place-Urbanity

"Some say Melbourne is a cultural melting pot. Jeffrey Shaw sees it as a series of giant cylinders, each identifiable by its ethnic origins, part of the city, but different from its neighbours. The idea has been translated by large amounts of computer cunning into a virtual environment, Place Urbanity, that is running at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image at Federation Square.

Shaw, a Melbourne-born new media artist who is director for visual media at the ZKM Centre for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany, has built 15 digital cylinders, essentially movies-in-the-round, of some of Melbourne's ethnic settlements, and set them on a broad virtual plain.

The digital video camera images were stitched together on a big Apple Macintosh computer using Adobe's After Effects software. Each of the 15 is a four-minute video loop. On the platform on which viewers stand are a PC with a powerful computer games card and a G4 Power Mac that handles the audio channels. A Sanyo digital projector lays the images on a nine-metre cylindrical screen.

Visitors stand on a rotating platform in the centre of the nine-metre circular screen on which the movies are projected. The platform rotates and can be 'driven' forward and swung right and left to move around in the digital image.

You aim at a cylinder sitting on your horizon, penetrate its borders like an aircraft entering a cloud, and suddenly the movie is all around you.

Maybe you have chosen Carlton, and find yourself on Lygon Street. You steer for the kerb and suddenly a comedian is hanging upside down in front of you, playing a guitar and singing The Aussie Wife Blues.

'I was in the multimedia space very early; we were right on the edge of development,' Shaw says. 'That was the mid-1970s. I built a kit computer and then got an Apple II that I used to make my first interactive piece - just a wire-frame virtual world you could navigate around. The limit then was 100 straight lines in black and white that could be animated in real time at about 12 frames per second, about half standard television rate.'

Since leaving Australia in 1965, Shaw has lived and worked in Milan, London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Karlsruhe. He founded the ZKM institute in 1992.

'I have always been interested in interactivity as a component of the art experience; giving the viewer some way to steer, control, interact and be part of the work,' Shaw says.

'Early works of mine just had simple things such as switches: switch it on, switch it off. In the late 1980s, I started to work with big Silicon Graphics work stations, which opened the door to much more sophisticated effects. But the big breakthrough now are the computer games boards. They are incredible; inexpensive and very powerful.

'Because of the game industry's appetite for bringing video data into virtual environments you have extremely sophisticated tools for texturing video. For the first time you can take cinematic data, real-world recorded data, texture it into a virtual environment and handle it like plasticine.

'That allows us to produce a work such as Place Urbanity, where the video panoramas are textured on to cylinders and you can navigate around and among them.'

Just as internet pornographers chasing more money pushed technology to improve computer imaging, so have games makers provided more capable software for new media artists. 'In the Silicon Graphics days you'd get a significant improvement in the technology about every two years. Now it's every three months,' Shaw says.

Place Urbanity pushes some of the artistic boundaries, but more is to come. 'I am interested in stereo projection and in multiscreen projection. The next generation of GeForce computer games boards will do all of that. You can do polarised stereo and, using genlock (generator locking using a device that enables a composite video machine, such as a TV, to accept two signals simultaneously) do multiscreen projection to produce a complete immersive environment. All of that will become available on an affordable home computer,' he says.

When new media art enters the home it won't be in a conventional home cinema. 'We seek to create new kinds of environmental experiences of the film image. The cinema is an idiosyncratic environmental experience. It is a dark room in which you sit with hundreds of other people for a couple of hours and that is the architecture of watching a movie. But you don't have to have that format for a cinematic experience.

'In Place Urbanity you have cylinders that you walk into and out of. You spend as much time as you want and the cinematic information is a loop that goes on and on.'

Shaw has been appointed visiting professor at the University of NSW's new iCinema research centre that will examine the future of home media. 'At the moment it is a bit regressive,' he said. 'They build themselves cinemas in their homes, but that is not what new media is about; it should be more than just going to the movies.'

Media is converging from a wide variety of sources - television, the internet, DVD interactive movies on computers and TV screens, even on appliances and mobile phones and handheld computers.

'I have recently done some multi-user art works,' he says. 'The visitor enters the art work and can meet other visitors there and talk to them. The art work itself becomes a social space. But voice is essential.

'It will be a virtual environment where you can visit a movie and when you step out you will be able to meet others who have also been there and you can talk to them'."

(Garry Barker, 31 March 2003, The Age Company Ltd.)

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2001 • down-under • interactive videoJeffrey ShawMelbournemulticulturalplace • Place-Urbanity • QTVR
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