Collecting, Preserving and Archiving the Media Arts Posted by Steve Dietz on September 30, 2005 9:43 AM
Panel: Collecting, Preserving and Archiving the Media Arts
Steve Dietz, moderator (for Jean Gagnon)
Jon Ippolito
Christiane Paul
Refresh!, September 29, 2005

From Morris Hargreaves McIntyre, Taste Buds: How to cultivate the art market, Arts Council England, 2004

The Art Formerly Known As New Media - Refresh reception Posted by Steve Dietz on September 29, 2005 9:08 PM
Remarks by Steve Dietz at the reception for The Art Formerly Known As New Media during the Refresh! conference
Walter Phillips Gallery
Banff Centre

Catherine Richards at reception for TAFKNAM during Refresh! conference Thanks for coming tonight.

I'd like to thank Anthony for the opportunity to be a curatorial fellow with the Walter Phillips Gallery over the past year. It has been a remarkable opportunity to work in a beautiful space, with a dedicated and professional staff - Sylvie, Mimmo, Tim, Charlene, Ed, Mike, Mark and Katja - to co-curate Database Imaginary with Anthony and Sarah last November and now The Art Formerly Known As New Media with Sarah. Thank you.

We will not be talking about every work tonight. Sarah will discuss some of the curatorial strategies and goals we had for the show, and we are fortunate at this art history conference that we have artists here to talk about their own work: Michael Naimark, Sara Diamond, and Catherine Richards, in that order.

What I want to talk about very briefly is, essentially, the title of the show. The Art Formerly Known As New Media.

Doing a show on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Banff NEW MEDIA Institute, especially when it coincides with the departure of its illustrious director of a decade, and calling it The Art Formerly Known As New Media has the potential to be interpreted as a kind of nose thumbing. It is not. Similarly, given that the Walker Art Center and the Baltic Center for contemporary art have both terminated their new media programs - and with them, their new media curators - the show could be seen as a kind of throwing in of the towel. It is not.

As Charlie Gere put is so succinctly today, we know this soap opera: "Upstart art is misunderstood and then assimilated into the mainstream as 'just' contemporary art."

As Andreas Broeckman said, the artist formerly known as Prince is just a musician and the art formerly known as new media is just art.

But which is it? Recuperated art? Or just art? Or something else, as Edmond Couchot and Mark Hanson and many others argued today, an art with a difference?

This is where it gets tricky.

At the simplest level, The Art Formerly Known As New Media follows in a long line of exhibitions - at least 30 years old - which claim that it's not about the technology, it's about the art. True. Sara and I do believe that while the technology may be enabling, to the extent that it's only about an instrumentalization of those capabilities, it's probably not very interesting. As we say in our introduction, "All of the works in The Art Formerly Known As New Media challenge and exceed the terminology by which they have, at least initially, been categorized and theorized." That is always what compelling art does.

I should say that one of the hallmarks of the BNMI program, we feel, has been an insistence on questioning the larger social, political, economic contexts in which experimental art is produced.

But this doesn't fully explain why the art FORMERLY known as new media. Are we implying it's dead? It's over? I think not.

Perhaps one way to explain this is ZKM's 1999 exhibition, net_condition. One can praise or criticize the specifics of the show - and I have done both - but one of my main thoughts at the time was thank goodness. Now there doesn't have to be another net art show for a long time, and we can focus on topcis, thematics, individual artists that matter to us.

In a sense, after a decade - and much more if we go back to Cybernetic Serendipity - we don't have to do "new media" shows anymore. I want to curate shows that include both Pierre Huyghe and Philippe Parreno's Annlee and Thomson & Craighead's Short Films about Flying.

But isn't this exactly what Charlie was saying? SOME new media work is recuperated but not with any deep understanding of the art formerly known as new media as a field. A a field with difference that matters.

My argument, and I think Sarah shares this to a large degree, also parallels something that Charlie said - I'm sorry to be so agreebable; I'm usually not like that. I go back to Alain Minc and Simon Nora's study that was published in English as The Computerization of Society. In it they coined the term telematique, meaning the conjunction of telecommunications - the network and informatique - computers. They argued, in 1978, that this conjunction would change the world. And I think it's inarguable that it has. Including, if not the mainstream artworld, yet, art practice.

What I would argue is not that new media is now "deserving" of the status of "just" art, but that increasingly, much so-called contemporary art practice, even art practice that does not self-identify - or more likely actively shuns the label new media - is exhibiting the distinctive characteristics that many of today's speakers have carefully identified and theorized.

The art formerly known as new media, properly understand, may be, in fact, the best lens we have to understand so-called contemporary art, especially as we move forward from 1960 to 2005. This, for me, for instance, is the genius of the variable media initiative. Jon [Ippolito] and Alain [Depocas] and Caitlin [Jones] and Rick [Rinehart] and others used the art formerly known as new media as a springboard to better understand - and hence to better conservere and preserve - any art, especially so-called contemporary art.

One final note. At a recent conference at the Tate, where Christiane Paul, my favorite curator of the art formerly known as new media, gave her usual sparkling, succinct overview of the art formerly known as new media, I sort of tried this idea out on her as a question from the audience, suggesting that many of the distinctive characteristics she had identified about curating the art formerly known as new media, were applicable to many, if not all curators of so-called contemporary art. She rather curtly - the pain is still present, you can tell - suggested that I didnt' know what I was talking about; none of the curators she worked with understood what she was talking about.

I want to say here, when I have the floor, that I do understand. I really do. And I fell your pain Christiane. I'm not trying to be a pollyana about this, and I still believe that the art formerly known as new media is significantly distinctive, but I also think it is both accurate and tactical to say that art after new media is a new and better understanding of the art of our time.

That, I hope, is what this show is about, at least in part.

Roving Report Posted by Steve Dietz on September 18, 2005 3:36 AM
Sunday, September 18, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM
Phone call from Rove spurred dismissal
By Wayne Slater
The Dallas Morning News
AUSTIN, Texas — White House Deputy chief of staff Karl Rove personally called the Texas secretary of state about a newspaper story quoting a staff lawyer about whether Rove was eligible to vote in the state.

The lawyer was subsequently fired.


The Australian Rove surfaces to clear path for Bush
Correspondents in Washington
September 19, 2005
"BUSH'S brain" was missing when floodwaters swamped New Orleans.

Karl Rove, the White House aide who goes by that unofficial title, was suffering from kidney stones and was admitted to hospital in the middle of the biggest crisis so far of President George W.Bush's second term.


Selling Downtown San jose Posted by Steve Dietz on September 13, 2005 10:50 PM
"Plans for bigger concerts, events expected to draw tourism dollars"
Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal
September 12, 2005
Andrew F. Hamm

Two new events -- the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, which is actually a half-marathon scheduled for October 2006, and the New Media art festival, ZeroOne San Jose: A Global Festival of Art on the Edge, scheduled for August 2006 -- are being developed with an eye toward bringing in tourists from outside the Bay Area.

The city is kicking in $250,000 to the ZeroOne event to help bring in top-notch artists that will bring in the art aficionado and the curious alike.

irational(.org) exuberance Posted by Steve Dietz on September 13, 2005 2:25 AM

Wisniewski Good progress today installing The Art Formerly Known As New Media. A test version of Maciej Wisniewski's 3 Seconds in the History of the Internet (top) is running. The stools (middle) for Thinking Machine 4 by Marek Walczak and Martin Wattenberg are getting custom painted. Catherine Richards' Method and Apparatus for Finding Love Patent is hung and looks great (background). r a d i o q u a l i a ' s Free Radio Linux has arrived via FedEx from Croatia. I hope it works because Adam Hyde is on the trans-Siberian railroad for the next week. Greg Niemeyer and Garnet Hertz arrive to install their works tomorrow. And Sarah and I finished the wall text for the exhibition.

It is true that the new and improved See Banff! is displaying a blue screen of death, and in the bottom photo we are working with work-study intern Katja Canini to figure out a layout for the irational.org installation on a stunning chalkboard wall.

Checklist: The Art Formerly Known As New Media Posted by Steve Dietz on September 13, 2005 1:31 AM

The Art Formerly Known As New Media



Shu Lea Cheang
Brandon, 1998-1999

Francesca Da Rimini

Sara Diamond
Code Zebra
website, performances, video, mixed media

Garnet Hertz
Experiments in Galvanism, 2003
frog, implanted webserver, mixed media

irational.org, 1995-present

Michael Naimark
See Banff!, 1998
wooden cabinet, computer installation

Greg Niemeyer
Organum, 2004
interactive sound installation

r a d i o q u a l i a (Honor Harger + Adam Hyde)
Free Radio Linux, 2002
radio and webcast

Catherine Richards
Shroud / Chrysalis II, 2005
mixed media installation
Method and Apparatus for Finding Love, 2005
30 framed texts and figures

Marek Walczak and Martin Wattenberg
Thinking Machine 4, 2004
software; computer installation

Maciej Wisniewski
3 seconds in the memory of the internet
networked installation

See Banff! Again Posted by Steve Dietz on September 12, 2005 1:40 AM

Michael Naimark, See Banff! Michael Naimark, See Banff!

Preservation of new media work is a hot topic in many quarters. In 2003, I wrote about some of the pragmatic issues regarding upkeep of new media art (Public Art, Interactive Publics). Michael Naimark's See Banff!, which is in The Art Formerly Known As New Media, could have been a case study, especially in that the artist had to determine and pay for a solution, even though the work is owned by a museum.

During Naimark's show in Pasadena, See Banff!, based on the idea of a Edison kinetoscope, broke down. The hand crank would not "turn" the laser disc. Rather than try and repair the old hardware, the artist decided to replace the aging laser disc player and assorted cabling (top right photo) with a Mac mini (top left photo). A technician had to be flown in from Montreal, but See Banff! is fixed now and ready to crank away. Thank you Michael and Matthew! (Apologies for the fuzzy cell phone camera pix.)

Michael Naimark Michael Naimark, See Banff!

The Art Formerly Known As New Media Posted by Steve Dietz on September 11, 2005 2:43 PM


Arrived at Banff today to work with Sarah Cook on the install of our show The Art Formerly Known As New Media at the Walter Phillips Gallery, which opens Saturday.

On the trip from Calgary, a most talkative driver, who swears she is Canadian, caught me up on the latest news. Grizzly about town, Bear 66 was killed a couple of weeks ago by a train and shortly after two of her cubs were killed in an automobile accident. The third has been trapped and is being held in the Calgary zoo.

In June, a woman in Canmore was killed by a grizzly and last week, a Banff work study arrtist was mauled by an unknown bear. It's also elk calving season.

The installation is indoors.

See also http://www.yproductions.com/projects/archives/000731.html

Interactive City 2 Posted by Steve Dietz on September 7, 2005 2:24 PM
Interactive City Call for Proposals ISEA2006 Symposium http://www.urban-atmospheres.net/ISEA2006/

Proposals Due: 9 December 2005
Final Decisions: 10 February 2006
"Never confuse the map with the Territory"
Empire of the Sun, J.G. Ballard
The city has always been a site of transformation: of lives, of populations, even of civilizations. With the rise of the mega city, however; with the advent of 24/7 rush hours; with the inexorable conversion of public space into commercial space; with the rise of surveillance; with the computer-assisted precision of redlining; with the viral advance of the xenophobic, the contemporary city is weighted down. We dream of something more. Not something planned and canned, like another confectionary spectacle. Something that can respond to our dreams. Something that will transform with us, not just perform change on us, like an operation.

The Interactive City seeks urban-scale projects for which the city is not merely a palimpsest of our desires but an active participant in their formation. From dynamic architectural skins to composite sky portraits to walking in someone else's shoes to geocaches of urban lore to hybrid games with a global audience, projects for the Interactive City should transform the "new" technologies of mobile and pervasive computing, ubiquitous networks, and locative media into experiences that matter.

The Interactive City is one of four major themes to be featured at ISEA2006 Symposium + ZeroOne San Jose Festival. Interactive City proposals should embrace aspects of the city of San José specifically and/or the surrounding metropolitan San Francisco Bay Area. Please visit the Interactive City web page for a list of early round accepted projects and a partial list of urban sub-themes.


Let us experience your vision of the Interactive City!

Eric Paulos
Interactive City, Chair

ISEA2006 Calls for Participation

ISEA2006 Mailing List