ars electronica 2005 hybrid: day 2

strip two

no more moaning necessary. the ars has me fully in it’s spell…

just trying to remember a few of the projects i saw yesterday morning at the o.k centrum für gegenwartskunst, where, like every year, some of the price winners of this years prix ars electronca get shown. milk followed from latvia to holland using gps devices. shooter game assuming the identity of david koresh to replay the tragedy in waco. flames in old birdcages triggering speeches by hitler, stalin, mussolini and roosevelt. information from orchid flowers fed into an xbox.

christine schöpf, co-director of ars electronica, had earlier said that this years submissions were darker and more political, and she had concluded that this was a sign of the times that we live in. in a way yes. but imho the work they do show is unspecifically dark and in that sense not a very clear comment on our times at all.

i have to be honest here. [oh oh, i will have to use this sentence at least one more time today]. i find most of the work quite boring this year. or boring might be the wrong word. who am i to call anything boring? there is just very little really sticking out for me this year. MILKproject by esther polak and ieva auzina [they followed the transport of milk from latvia to holland, from dairy farmer to cheese buyer, using gps devices] actually wins the golden nica in the interactive art category. it is a nice idea for a project [yeah project. smile. you], but what they do with the data is too obvious fro me – they just visualise the gps paths on screens and have the people who earlier wore the gps devices comment it – and the way they present their piece is just not that well done.

having said that. two pieces really do exite me: run motherfucker run [very much so] and life: a user’s manual.

run motherfucker run by marnix de nijs [NL] is big. it is loud. it rocks. and it is extremely well done technically. basically it consists of a huge runner belt that lets the user control a movie projected in front of him. the faster he runs the clearer the movie becomes and he can also pick a direction and thereby chose various paths. at some point it is as he enters a deserted city in slow motion. the music also picks up the movements.
basically, make me one of these as my home runner and even i will take up excersing…

life: a user’s manual is an interactive performance piece where video scanners are used to pick up signals from surveillance cameras in stores or elsewhere. these videofeeds get displayed on screens integrated on carts or in huge suitcases that people dressed as if homeless push around a city in question. michelle teran [CA] and her team have spent the last 2 weeks tracking down video signals so they can perform their work live, here in linz. 2. 4. 5. sept. 19:00 o.k.

campus has over the past few years invited art schools from various places, zurich, kyoto. i think this is a brilliant concept as these student works offer great insight into the latest trends in media art. campus this year is hosting an exhibit made by students from srishti school of art design and technology from bangalore. i was really looking forward to this, but i have to be honest here [i warned you], their exhibition is somewhat dissapointing. i think contentwise it is fine. they pride themselves that their work has a lot of soul. and it does, i happen to love kabir the great indian mystic poet on whom a lot of their work is based. but technically it simply does not live up to the standards that i think an exhibit at ars electronica should have.
“in that case no schoool from india will ever make it to ars”, manu, who i discussed this with, argued, “half of the time they don’t even have electricty in bangalore”. of course, but i don’t want to fall into that certainly much more politically correct mindset. most of the shown work had maybe a great idea behind it, but was built in such a clumsy way that the ideas were sometimes hard to even grasp. and good media art need not be geeky technical as much of the work shown at architekturform proves. i just hoped for more technical innovation. even manu, who helped them on this exhibit, agreed in the end that the work was maybe not quite “ripe” to be shown here as the srishti school had only two years ago added media art into its curriculum. i am also not sure how i should feel about the puja [opening ceremony/ritual with incense, chant and flowers] that was held before opening the show. i am usually very much in favor of rituals, but here it felt odd.

okay, gotta go look for someone wearing pink and yellow shoes. today is day one of the hybrid symposium hosted by derrick de kerckhove. should be interesting.

About Jan Zuppinger

Jan Zuppinger has been writing this blog since 2002. He likes to grow vegetables. He likes to eat them too. He has opinions on everything, but sadly no one cares. Jan Zuppinger is not joking, just joking, he is joking, just joking, he's not joking. *click.