Tribes Gallery Exposes the Panorama of Net.art at the Dawn of the New Millenium
New York exhibition reunites artists who use the network.
by Roberta Bosco + Stefano Caldana
The state of creation on the web. "Dystopia + Identity in the Age of Global Communications" reunites artists who have pioneered net.art. The exhibition, at Tribes Gallery in New York, "...reflects the two poles of thought: visions of death + destruction, to positive representations of a world that began believing in its potentialities", according to its curator, Cristine Wang.
"Artists at the beginning of the 20th century embraced the notion of the all-encompassing role of art: the profound belief in the ability of art to effect change. Almost one hundred years later, into the new millenium, we have seen the effects of this utopian vision: the failure of modernism and its various permutations on a global basis" explains Wang.
Andy Deck presents the anti-militarist piece "Progressive Load" and Mark Amerika its ironic "How to be an Internet artist", its pseudo-autobiography, that "tries to demonstrate how the industrialists of dotcoms who have swollen the market are the true net.artists".
"Street Action on the Superhighway", a project by Natalie Bookchin, represents the different spaces opened up between art / activism / the streets / the network: "The internet has become another cheap, fast and ductile material in the hands of the artists."
The concept of the exhibition is evident in works like "Ocean Landmark" by Betty Beaumont, a created virtual world utilising vrml technology (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) located 40 miles beyond New York Harbor. It is itself, both an underwater sculpture on a massive scale: 500 tons of an industrial waste product made of processed coal-waste, a potential pollutant that has undergone a planned transformation into a flourishing ecosystem: a poetic vision 70 feet below the surface, on the floor of the Atlantic Continental Shelf.
The minimalist "Silence" by Olga Kisseleva focuses on that which we cannot see at first site. Unlike most works of net.art that bombard the viewer with a flow of visual and sonorous stimuli, like the impressive and politicized "The Days and the Nights of Dead", by Australian artist Francesca da Rimini; in order to discover the beauty of "Silence" one must know to be patient and watch the screen as things evolve over time.
Among the most provocative works, stands out the porn film "IKU" by Shu Lea Cheang (an artist from Taiwan, living in New York). After a large trajectory of work in video art, Cheang first came to prominence in the net.art world with "Brandon", the first project commissioned for the Guggenheim Museum website, based on the transexual news story that served as the basis for the film "Boys don't Cry".
Present are some of the "masterpieces" of the history of net.art, like "Telegarden" by Ken Goldberg, with its positive and collective vision of life; the transgenetic and interactive works of Eduardo Kac; the particular "hacker" aesthetic of Jenny Marketou; and "Netomat", the "anti-browser" that the Polish artist Maciej Wisniewski conceived of as an artistic instrument able to activate the creative and aesthetic potential of the network. The only Spaniard present is Daniel García Andújar, with his "Technologies to the People", a virtual company that exists exclusively as an art project, whose objective is to provoke a reflection on the use of the technology and the mechanisms of exclusion in information society.
The Exhibition: <http://www.tribes.org/dystopia>www.tribes.org/dystopia
Back to Kac Web