SANDRA FAUCONNIER

Mouchette
(1996 - ongoing)

Mouchette is the artist and the work of art all in one: a mythical avatar born in the prehistoric times of net.art, she is still alive and still creating sixteen years later. Is Mouchette an immortal, an online digital creature of new type? Or is she simply the evidence that art on internet has the capacity to last beyond the obsolescence of a technology? Her internet presence and influence are constantly growing.

LINK
Mouchette CV
Archive of links to Mouchette's site

Peter Luining:
rect_z1
(23 feb 2010)

Interactive flash movie with sound.

LINK

Peter Luining: Hex painting 23 aka Do It Yourself (frames)
- after Warhol . 15 august 2004 Type: html

An intro page that is often used by commercial websites to create a certain atmosphere.

Link to archive of Splash Pages

Peter Luining:
Radio Buttons
(Room #4)

_

LINK

JODI:
tatatataa
(2009)

All menu options of the program 'Text-Edit' read by the well known voice of the video game 'Duke Nukem'

LINK

JODI:
GEO GOO
(2008)

The familiar
interface and
iconography
of Google
maps are
appropriated
to illustrate
the extent
and growth
of our
reliance on
technology.

LINK

JODI: ASDFG (1999)

Abstractly controlled website chaos.

LINK

Moniker:
Pointer Pointer
(2012)

We are in the midst of a transition from a culture of pointing to one of touch. Pointer Pointer is the first in a series of interactive projects celebrating the humble computer pointer.

Moniker is Luna Maurer, Jonathan Puckey & Roel Wouters.

LINK

To Be or Not
To Be Mouchette (2009)

Me, Mouchette, the online virtual character, I have an unusual status of existence. Regarding the art of my website (www.mouchette.org) I am the author and the creation at the same time, and yet through my remote internet life I remain invisible, anonymous, genderless, untouchable, neither alive or dead. Therefore participants of my interactive website confide in me in the most intimate way, as if were an imaginary being, living in their own head. Inside their own thoughts, no subject is taboo, fear, pain, life and death or even the temptation of suicide, and with me people feel free to talk about everything.

With the reactions of the participants to my website I have composed animation films displaying many of the texts I received, spoken out by pixellated characters who tell their most private thoughts about their experience of surviving suicide, their own or someone else’s.

My personality embraces all of my participant’s minds and together we form a collective consciousness pondering over questions of life and death in the digital era. And like in the famous Hamlet monologue, to be or not to be Mouchette, that is the question!

LINK

Rafaël Rozendaal:
From the dark
past .com
(2009)

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LINK

rafaël rozendaal:
Like This
Forever .com
(2009)

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LINK

Rafaël Rozendaal:
Closet Shut .com
(2009)

-

LINK

Rafaël Rozendaal:
Falling
Falling
.com
(2009)

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LINK

Jonas Lund:
What You See
Is What You Get
(2012)

Every visitor to the website's browser size, collected, and played back sequentially, ending with your own.

LINK

Jonas Lund:
wwwwwwww
wwwwww.net
(2011)

The top million most visited websites, showing the ones you have visited. The list of the top million sites comes from alexa.com and was downloaded the 12th of December 2011.

LINK

Jonas Lund:
1164041.com
(2012)

1,164,041 Or How I Failed In Getting The Guinness World Book Of Record Of Most Comments On A Facebook Post.

LINK

Jonas Lund:
I'm Here
And There
(2011)

See What I See through Total Transparency. A browser extension that sends every website I'm currently viewing to imhereandthere.com. It refreshes as soon as I visit a new website. It works a bit like a mirror to my browser and life – you can now see what I see.

LINK

Constant Dullaart:
Anamorvista
(2012)

In a work of Philip Glass for the TV-show Sesame Street the concept of geometry is explained. To put this short film on Youtube it was converted from an analog format to a digital format. In Anamorvista the change of perspective becomes tangiable. The user can rotate the perspective of the visuals by moving the cursor over the frame.

LINK

Constant Dullaart: The Untitled Internet (2012),
The Revolving internet (2010), The sleeping internet (2010)

Fully functioning versions of google.com, where the behaviour of the site has been altered.

LINK

Constant Dullaart:
Waving Ocean
(2011)

An ocean on a calm
day is animated with photoshop waves.

LINK

jan robert
leegte:
Frame Border
(1999)

Frameborder is the minimal expression of my thoughts seeing the computer (and the internet) as a sculptural medium. The browser is the window to the exhibition space in which the work is installed. The GUI elements, placeable and adaptable by the artist through HTML, are the equivalent of the wood and stone, bought by you at your local hardware store.

LINK

jan robert leegte:
text document out of focus (2008)

Text Document out of Focus is the addition of sensory properties, in this case adding focus to an optical medium, to (partially) complete the simulacrum. It is one of the studies in my ongoing deconstruction of the materiality presented by the computer.

LINK

JONATHAN Sachse Mikkelsen:
untitled document (2012)

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LINK

Jodi -
Inverting All Functions,
Questioning All Forms

Josephine Bosma

It takes courage to embrace the shapelessness and nonsensical of the digital universe and take it seriously. Hardware and software are constructed according to rules and expectations that have little bearing on the broad potential of computers and their ‘users’. Artists Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans, better known as Jodi, have this courage. They fully welcome the irrational, amorphous side of computing. To them it offers potential new aesthetic and economic pathways. It offers a chance to reach new audiences, to break institutional codes, and to simply surprise others as well as themselves. Jodi look upon new media and their content as heaps of matter, as raw materials that are just screaming to be mined and (re-) shaped. Software especially is tested to its physical, but also to its social, limits. Jodi challenge its purpose, search for the essence in each individual mathematical machine, and take no prisoners when building new objects and new worlds out of a game, a browser, or an operating system. Jodi are the 21st century version of the artist as explorer of concepts and materials. Nothing is sacred, neither the pre-determined usage of computers and software nor the ‘creative’ work ethic of the digital age.

It’s very clear that Jodi are not media artists in the traditional sense of the word. Their work is more related to the collages of Raoul Hausmann, the poetry of Paul van Ostaijen and the deconstructivist attitude of Nam June Paik than it is to the hermetic installation art of Jeffrey Shaw or Bill Viola. The digital domain clearly is a point of reference, but Jodi do not use it as a medium, but as an environment. In this hybrid environment Heemskerk and Paesmans take a radical position. They insist on their place as free and independent actors in this still relatively new, broader cultural landscape that exists both on and offline. Jodi see how the Internet is turning into a territory that is increasingly claimed and controlled by the media industry. Actions and experiences are predefined and built into software and hardware. Instead of submitting to the role of ‘users’ or consumers Jodi hold on to the ‘hacker’ attitude, in which technology is a language we all need to learn to ‘read’ and ‘speak’. Yet Jodi’s digi-literacy is not that of the hacktivist or engineer. It is that of the rebel poet. To paraphrase the Ramones: Jodi is a punk. They are manic, at times. They are noisy. Jodi playfully and boldly claim a place for art on the Internet, in software, and in any other dimension of the new media sphere. They do so on their own terms.

Jodi have intrigued me from the very first time I saw their work. My fascination started with Automatic Rain System, a poetic hyperlink ‘film’ in blue cyphers on their website in 1995 (no longer available in its original form) (*1), continued with their map of art (and anything else they liked) in cyberspace (*2) and consolidated with their incidental crosses between ASCII art and concrete poetry in mailing lists (*3). From this they first moved to creating and modifying software.

Jodi’s CD-ROM, OS/****(*4), freely distributed with Mediamatic magazine (*5), contained software art that took over a computer’s system to create what looked like complete chaos, as for example windows and files were opened and copied randomly, and at great speed. The work easily induced panic attacks in the owner of the computer it was opened on. Though shutting this work down requires switching off the power to the computer that runs it, the software ultimately causes no harm to computers or content of computers. It just temporarily turns the computer into a work of art.

In the second half of the nineties, when all this happened, Jodi’s ruthless approach of the very boring and basic functionality given to personal computers was completely unprecedented, particularly coming from an art context. OS/**** was its culmination. Not only a small inner circle was fascinated now: Jodi became living legends in the broader ‘Internet art’ scene and beyond. When their work untitled-game, a heavily abstracted modification of Quake, was released as a mini-CD-ROM with Mute magazine in 2001, Jodi became an example for artists and designers worldwide, which alone calls for an acquisition of their work by a Dutch contemporary art museum. Yet their more recent works are very interesting as well.

After the artists moved back to the Netherlands from Barcelona, where they had lived for many years, their work changed. It became broader, more free, and in some ways more contemplative. After saying Jodi’s work stood in the Net ‘like a brick’ before, now Heemskerk said she saw the work of Jodi very much as performance, due to the unstable and fleeting existence of art on the Internet. Though Jodi still creates art with computers, like their playful adaptations of a classic game Jet Set Willy (*7) (originally for the ZX Spectrum, pre-pc), many of their works of the last few years are clearly performance based. Sometimes these performances take place online. Paesmans for example spent a whole night drawing one single quivering vertical line through different emails, which were all sent to the un-moderated Rhizome mailing list, filling up the inboxes of all the members with a simple sketch divided over hundreds of mails. Jodi also tested the limits of the blog platform. Some of their blog postings were thought to be malicious, and got deleted. Seeing the remaining blog posts it is clear that Jodi made glitch art avant la lettre (*8). The characterless blog template is torn to shreds and used as a canvas for a literally moving collage.

But Jodi now also explore the physical reach of the Net beyond the Net. They consider the way the new media affect us. They are not alone in this. Many so-called net artists have moved beyond the Internet, often making performance type works (For example internationally: Heath Bunting, Graham Harwood, The Yes Men, Annie Abrahams, Übermorgen, Eva and Franco Mattes. In the Netherlands: Peter Luining, Karen Lancel, Debra Solomon). Since a few years the relation between the digital universe and the offline world, which was always a popular theme in new media art, has become an important subject. As a result, performance art, the oldest art practice online, dating back to forerunners of the Net, is having a true revival. The entire performance art revival, starting with the so-called relational aesthetics art, could be seen as a reaction to the arrival of digital media floods. Central to performance and the Internet is the new physicality of bodies and locations as they are connected (or disconnected) or ‘morphed’ through the media. In the art of Jodi this has expressed itself first and foremost as criticism of new media that represent presence and physical locations: the new world maps of for example Google and Bing. GEO GOO (*9) consists mostly of different pre-recorded Google maps performances, in which the artists make colourful drawings with all possible location tags on the earth’s surface. GEO GOO works strangely liberating to its audience. It shows a flat, limited, but hugely influential view of our environment for what it really is: a map like any other, presenting the world from its makers’ perspective, full of gaps and projections.

At the opening of an exhibition of their work GEO GOO in Brussels, Jodi for the first time used one of their own bodies as a prop in a performance. Dressed in many brightly coloured layers of full body spandex suits that were peeled off one by one, Paesmans went from looking alien and dehumanized to returning to himself (*10). Though Jodi had done performances before, mostly as ‘software jockeys’ extracting unbelievable sounds and visuals from some desktop in a concert setting, this highly theatrical performance seems to denote a break with their earlier work. Needless to say I got intrigued once again, since never before was the work of Jodi so personal and never did it have such a dark undertone. Jodi seem to want to reshape the stealthily approaching offline forms of Web aesthetics, described by Italian critic Vito Campanelli, outside the computer as well. Looking at other recent Jodi works, one can see a pattern of uncovering invisible structures and shattered screens (*11).

A few years before GEO GOO, Webcra.sh (*12) was a physical exhibition of some of Jodi’s favourite links, in collaboration with Dutch artist Dennis de Bel. They were printed on colourful banners and carried in a small parade through the streets of the Dutch city Dordrecht. “A Web address is the first line of code to activate a program,” Jodi explain webcra.sh in an interview, “It filters out all the other sites. It is a piece of functioning code that is part of the work itself. It brings us from real space to the net.” Jodi juxtaposed these Web addresses with other, more indirect roads into new media art.

At the opening of the exhibition of these banners in a gallery, visitors were offered a cup of soup. This soup was cooked by the artists on site, and handed out from behind a little stall. On the stall hung the remains of the soup’s ingredients. The soup was made of torn up new media art books and ‘seasoned’ with technical manuals. This was a performance called del.icio.us/the soup.is, and its title refers to the well-known social bookmarking site delicious.com and Miguel-Ángel Cárdenas The Soup is Delicious from 1977. In Cárdenas’ video the artist is slowly climaxing from being given fellatio, hidden from below the table, while eating his soup. Books and other intellectual approaches, Jodi seems to say, are only a second hand approach to art. New media art especially has to be experienced rather than seen in print. Yet though tearing up books and cooking them to a soup seems an aggressive way to make this point, it can maybe also be seen as an act of desperation. How to relate to all this easily paralyzing analysis as an artist working in the contradictory flux and vacuum of the Net? How frustrating is it to see books survive when Websites crumble?

The art of Jodi is highly varied, but steady. In the work of Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans the poetry and strife of contemporary art and the astonishing flexibility of the non-commercial digital sphere meet. Their work deserves to survive beyond books alone, as it was and is pivotal in the development of art in the context of the Internet, in our new cultural landscape. Yet in the Netherlands only the now closing NIMK, the Dutch media art institute, made a serious effort to keep Jodi’s art for posterity (*13). Art in the hybrid digital domain is not an imposition of modernist practices on the cultural field of today. It is not generative art gone digital. Young artists from all over the world have discovered and still discover Jodi’s imaginative and groundbreaking work. There is a clear legacy and continuation of Jodi’s practices in software art, digital poetry, glitch art and also in art beyond the computer. Let’s fill this huge gap in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum.




(*1) wwwwwww.jodi.org

(*2) map.jodi.org

(*3) www.nettime.org

(*4) oss.jodi.org

(*5) www.mediamatic.nl

(*6) www.josephinebosma.com

(*7) jetsetwilly.jodi.org

(*8) blogspot.jodi.org

(*9) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuUqUxHNKAM

(*10) www.flickr.com

(*11) www.movingimage.us

(*12) vagueterrain.net

(*13) http://catalogue.nimk.nl/site/?page=%2Fsite%2Fartist.php%3Fid%3D13247

How to be Pink and
Conceptual at the Same Time

Annet Dekker
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A conversation between
Martine Neddam and Annet Dekker
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Amsterdam, May 2011

A: When looking back at the website Mouchette.org one could say that it was one of the first fictional personal blogs, a diary of a young girl. But moving beyond that first impression, and looking at the development through the years it has become much more. What does the character of Mouchette mean to you, what does it do?

M: Mouchette was about creating a form and not so much about storytelling. When I started Mouchette I wanted to use the notion of a character as something that transcends mediums, I saw the character as something that can be used as a form, or a container. Using a character as a metaphor allowed me to gather and structure information. I have always believed that a character, a person or an identity is a good metaphor. They can assume the identity of an institution without actually existing. In this sense, I see characters as containers that carry units of meaning.

I was very interested in exploring that idea. At its base, Mouchette shows that identity is a social, mental, or artistic construction. It’s something that you put together. The idea that identity is one thing, ‘Me is one,’ is also an illusion, or a very totalitarian obligation.


A: How did you develop Mouchette? How has it been branded through the years?

M: Many things happened, depending on the works that I put up on the site, but it has never lost popularity. It has a sort of street credibility; in a way people really believed in it and the fake became reality. But the question of whether you’re a real or fake person has become less important now, which is interesting. When I started Mouchette the idea of an alternate persona was still seen as a bizarre phenomenon, so it attracted a lot of attention. Many people posed as characters, for example, mothers would go online pretending to be their daughters, but you only heard of it when they ended up in court, which seldom happened. Through the years and with the rise of popular sites like Second Life it became less and less unusual. It is quite normal to have several e-mail addresses: a work e-mail, a private e-mail, and an old one full of spam, and they represent different personalities in each of us. Everybody has these multiple identities but they didn't create them in a deliberate way, it just happened.

Whereas in the beginning the question of whether Mouchette existed or not was very important for me, I ended up revealing the true author, but only recently and in quite a low-profile way. Secrecy was a very important part of the work; it really called on the imagination of the reader, the websurfer. While designing the work I kept wondering if the receiver would guess or imagine who was behind the character. For example, I could pretend that Mouchette was a man, but how then could I play out the sexual elements without them becoming perverted? I really emphasised the secrecy and the moments of revelation. I would send a phantom e-mail and pretend that the real author had to reveal his identity and therefore I would name an actual place, a well-known art institution, for example, so that people would believe it.


A: Can you talk a little bit more about these physical presentations? How did you translate the virtual work into the physical world?

M: It was natural for me because I‘ve worked for many years as an artist in public spaces and galleries. It surprised me that when I started Mouchette I was suddenly propelled into the closed field of digital media. This was very limiting for me. I always wanted to present Mouchette in as many ways as possible, always with the website at the centre, and within the context of her personality. Mouchette became the brand through which I presented various projects. I think it had an effect because I know of at least two instances when I was awarded a prize and the jury discussed the secrecy of the artist’s identity, and it really attracted additional attention to the work.


A: Yes, I participated in one of those discussions. It was absolutely fascinating that after so many years, even professionals still discussed Mouchette’s true nature.

M: Yes indeed, but this also happened with writers, famous writers like Romain Gary. And of course it works both ways – it has an influence on the receiver as well as on the author. Hosting another being inside yourself creates certain possibilities that trigger something. I felt it very deeply when I decided to reveal Mouchette’s secret. Mouchette enabled me to escape my grown-up self, to express myself less with words and allow the story to be told more through images. It also allowed me to share parts of my own character that otherwise would not have come out, and to acknowledge that what I wanted to achieve with my art was simply to be famous and loved by everyone.

Sometimes I think that characters exist beyond us; we are merely temporal vehicles or carriers. There were often times when I wanted to get rid of Mouchette because all the work was taking over my life; in a way I was her slave. Martine Neddam the artist was taken over by Mouchette the character, which didn’t even belong to me. Mouchette first appeared in 1937 in a book by Georges Bernanos. Later, in 1967, Robert Bresson made a movie called Mouchette, about a French teenager who commits suicide after she is raped, and I loosely based Mouchette.org on these characters. Others have also used Mouchette.org. So it’s come from somewhere and is going somewhere else and I’m the carrier in between.


A: Is this, for you, also a space where playfulness and irony come into play, the fun side of doing things? Something that is reflected in the projects you create, the coding, the tricks, but also on a conceptual level, a play with language, an urge to transform things, and push limits?

M: Yes, absolutely. It all started with the use of English as a foreign language. In the early days of the Internet people communicated in text spaces, the MOO (ed. MOOs are network accessible, multi-user, programmable, interactive systems, used for the construction of text-based adventure games, conferencing, and other collaborative software and communication platforms). When I talked with people, I would tell them that English was not my mother tongue, but they would forget this quite quickly, and then my language would come across as very childish. So, there I was in the MOO communicating with MIT people, who were really academic, working on code and text. I was interested in talking to them through a sort of playful interface, which the MOO was. I had this awkward feeling that they would soon forget my ‘accent’ and after two sentences I was just communicating in baby talk, while they were using academic language. Quite unconsciously I was training myself to find simple way to express complex ideas without emotional barriers.

So I decided to take that strategy further with the creation of an online character, Mouchette, who is emotionally very direct but still can communicate ideas about art. This experience was very liberating for me. If I had used my mother tongue it wouldn’t have worked because, like every educated adult, my emotional inhibitions are very strongly rooted inside the language. Using this kind of direct language in a specific way triggered something in me I didn’t know I had. For example, I would say simple phrases like 'Art is what you say Art is’ using the ‘Duchamp approach’ in a very cheeky way. If I had expressed it in French, I would have used more complex language. Mouchette gave me the opportunity to leave intellectual authority behind. This was important because I wanted to reach another audience that was present on the Internet and move beyond the art gallery and the institutional scene.
For me the irony revealed itself through the aesthetics of the site. Perhaps I can explain it with something I used to say: ‘Can you be pink and conceptual at the same time?’. In the 1970s and 1980s artists from the Art & Language and conceptual art movements were very style driven, even though they pretended that appearance and personality were insignificant. But when look back, it was elegantly black and white, very stylish. Pink at that time, and even now in many cases, wouldn’t be acceptable. Pink is frivolous, not serious; it’s playful and certainly can’t be conceptual or political.
Sometimes this attitude towards the non-pink in art makes me very angry. For example, Mouchette would never be called a political work of art, or even art that engages with the social. At best many art critics and curators see it as a funny little story, non-political and not socially engaged. This has annoyed me at times, because it is political and it does engage with the social on many levels. The idea of alternate identities is very political, as are the notions of multiple identities, and shared identities, which I provided through Mouchette. It’s even more cynical because I’m perhaps one of the few artists who have had to deal with the legal system when I was taken to court. But I also never claimed that it was political or social. I don’t think that’s my role, and it’s not the way the work functions either.


A: Mouchette seems indeed to elude the radars of politics, new technologies and networks, which is regrettable.

M: Yes, it is, but with Mouchette I wanted foremost to create a social space, a space where people could communicate and help other people. Of course, that these things have been sorted, edited and published is in itself a political act. It’s still a sort of repository of thoughts and emotions that wanted to be shared, and finally have been shared. Mouchette shows that art can penetrate people’s private lives, and I believe that is a good thing.


A: You’re pushing the limits of art critics and curators even further, firstly with a Fanclub and now a Guerrilla Fanshop…

M: As soon as I had a mailing list of 20 people I named this list a Fanclub. Over time I noticed that the number of visitors kept growing and that the audience also changed. New people keep on discovering the site. I believe that it’s because of Mouchette’s youthfulness, her combination of energy and anger that is also present in classics such as The Catcher in the Rye. People recognise and identify with Mouchette. For me the Fanshop is a continuation as well as a new step. I like the idea that it is situated in real life. It’s another interesting form for making contact with people. I try to investigate the Fanshop as a social form and an artistic form, including the notions of fake and real. And again, it plays with the idea that an identity can be shared and also be used to offer a platform for different ideas and groups of people.


A: How do you balance between the idea of Mouchette as an identity and as a space where social exchange can take place?

M: The Western world has developed a very limited form of identity, I think. We believe that we can own ourselves, which is absolutely untrue. You’re always a part of something and you switch between different identities. The Western idea of identity needs to be re-examined. I was very aware of that when I created Mouchette. I didn’t want to describe someone, but I wanted to re-examine the conditions of identity as a form of social exchange. I’ve always seen Mouchette as a platform, not as an identity. It, or she, allows me to raise certain issues and also allows others to do certain things. It’s a platform of exchange.


A: And not just of ideas, but also the sharing of identities?

M: Yes, I wanted to put forward the idea of identity as a composition. As I said the notion of a single identity is very artificial; furthermore, whatever identity you do have does not necessarily only belong to you. Its also part of, or even belongs to, everyone who interacts with it. Whatever you do to yourself, for example, if you cut your hair and a friend comes by the next day and is surprised and makes some kind of remark, then that remark could be understood as: ‘You changed yourself without my permission’. I very much like the idea of identity as something that is shared. So I created an identity-sharing interface that made it possible to use or copy Mouchette. Unfortunately, it backfired after the terrorist attack in New York in 2001. I was creating David Still at the time, and was very excited about inventing another character that could be taken over by others. But after terrorism struck, anything that dealt with other identities became suspect. Terrorists could hide behind my characters. Each and every façade was suspect. What was once playful and seductive was made into something to strike out at, something to erase. I really felt that the attack on the Twin Towers and the way America reacted to it threatened my art.


A: How do you see in this light the rise of Facebook? Do you think it might become a way of dealing with different identities again, or a place where people can play with identity?

M: No, exactly the opposite. The whole idea of alternate identities was banned on Facebook. Someone had set up a Facebook page for Mouchette but Facebook shut it down very quickly. They do accept the pseudonyms of famous writers, but if you create three different people with three different e-mail addresses, at some point they will become suspicious and shut down the pages. I’m not entirely sure how they track everything, but building alternate identities is definitely discouraged. Facebook actually started as a virtual dating site, so it’s based entirely on the concept of real identities. If anything, it reinforces the very limited idea of a single identity.


A: What is Mouchette’s next adventure?

M: I’m still fascinated by made-up characters, especially those that people accept as real. In this line I just finished a work ‘Turkmenbashi, mon amour,’ an animation in which Mouchette shows us Turkmenistan and highlights the presence of its ex-dictator, the late Saparmurad ‘Turkmenbashi’ Nyazov. Even though he’s dead, his personality is still very prominent in the capital, Ashgabat. The city is home to numerous huge golden statues and images of this extremely repressive dictator. At the same time there is a strange atmosphere of non-communication. That tension between his ubiquitous ‘presence‘ and the silence about it was something I wanted to address. So I made a sort of reportage, a documentary with photos and texts, where Mouchette describes and comments in her typically playful and ironic way, addressing the dictator as if she admires him and writing a love letter starting with ‘Turkmenbashi Mon Amour’. Here the play between fiction and reality is to identify these fictional elements in reality, like these crazy self-promoting dictators who are really fictitious characters.

I think I'm bound to continue experimenting with fictitious characters in many different ways, with the ones I invent and with the ones who are already here among us. Once you've created one, you realise that our lives are full of them. They are like an army of shadows.


LINK TO ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Sandra Fauconnier

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Dag Amber,

Ik heb een hele aparte bijdrage, kan dat?

Mijn Pinterest-profiel draag ik bij deze aan jullie op: http://pinterest.com/trnstlntk/

Ik was een tijdlijn aan het schrijven, ook leuk, maar mijn Pinterest is beter. Een langdurig work in progress, een soort mix van visueel essay, collage en readymade.

Kwetsbaar en veranderlijk :-)

Ik vond al langer dat ik er iets mee moest doen, en dit is de perfecte gelegenheid.

Zet deze email maar op de site, met de link erin!

Groet! Sandra

internet(kunst)
alomtegenwoordigheid
– ofwel overal internet(kunst)

Petra Heck

Toen ik in 2000 aan de UvA afstudeerde op het presenteren en verzamelen van internetkunst was dat nog een vrij frustrerend onderwerp. Trage internetverbindingen (middels piepende modems), virussen en een voor mij aanvankelijk relatieve onbekendheid met het functioneren van een technologie als het internet. Maar het boeide mij ook zeer en ik ben altijd gefascineerd gebleven door de wereld van het internet en op welke manier het internet kunstenaars inspireert, hun werkproces verandert en zij werk maken dat alleen op het internet goed 'functioneert'.

De jaren daarop werkte ik vooral in de traditionele kunstwereld van galeries en bedrijfscollecties waar video al als een hele uitdaging gezien werd. Maar ik bleef geïnteresseerd door digitale en vooral internet-uitingen van kunstenaars en ging werken als curator en hoofd tentoonstellingen bij het Nederlands Instituut voor Mediakunst (NIMk).

De details over mijn werkende leven zal ik jullie verder besparen en wil doorgaan op een tentoonstelling die ik in 2011 bij NIMk maakte met de kunstenaars/curatoren: Aleksandra Domanović, Oliver Laric en Katja Novitskova. Deze tentoonstelling heet 'The Greater Cloud' en bevatte werk van de kunstenaars: Marjolijn Dijkman, Harm van den Dorpel, Martijn Hendriks, David Horvitz, Pablo Larios, Marlie Mul, Marisa Olson, Jon Rafman, Pamela Rosenkranz, Alexandre Singh, Ryan Trecartin, Artie Vierkant en Lance Wakeling.

In de tentoonstelling The Greater Cloud functioneerde het internet als platform, medium of onderwerp; als bron van inspiratie voor kunstenaars. Verschillende kenmerken van het internet vormden de basis van The Greater Cloud zoals gedistribueerde vormen van collectiviteit, het delen en verspreiden van kennis, openheid van informatie, de circulatie van digitaal materiaal evenals formele eigenschappen zoals verbondenheid, performativiteit of 3D elementen. Voor de werken was gebruik gemaakt van internet based materiaal of aan het internet verbonden processen of ideeën.

Aangezien het internet nu zo alomtegenwoordig is valt internetkunst ook breed op te vatten en dit vormde dan ook het uitgangspunt van de tentoonstelling. De titel van de tentoonstelling geeft dit al aan: The Greater Cloud, een omschrijving die afkomstig is van de Nederlandse Internetkunst theoretica Josephine Bosma. Dezelfde Bosma schreef: “Net art is not disappearing (...), it is simply slowly dissolving into an art practice which connects and exceeds media art and the art world. (…)
It no longer is art that is simply made with electronic media tools, but it actually is part of the broader sphere made up of mass media and individual, ‘private’ art experience at the same time. Not only media art is moving into this sphere. ‘Traditional’ artists (visual artists formerly not working as media artists) and artists from other disciplines (such as dance, music, literature and poetry) are using the computer and the Internet as well, both for representation and specific projects. It is often very hard if not impossible to distinguish media artists from other artists in the shared space of the Internet."

En de vraag is of we mediakunstenaars wel moeten willen onderscheiden van 'andere' kunstenaars. Voor deze tentoonstelling was dat in ieder geval niet zo en werden 'hedendaagse' kunstenaars en 'mediakunstenaars' naast elkaar getoond.

Als consequentie van het karakter en de praktijk van het internet dat is gebaseerd op delen, distributie en circulatie was The Greater Cloud naast mij samengesteld door de eerder genoemde kunstenaars / curatoren. Iedere curator had een eigen ruimte ingericht op basis van zijn eigen interpretatie van het thema, opinie en esthetische voorkeur. Dit zorgde ervoor dat er zeer verschillende ruimtes met verschillende soorten werken en ideeën getoond werden. Iedere curator had vervolgens een statement geschreven die zijn visie, keuzes en werken min of meer uiteenzette. Meer informatie over de getoonde werken en de statements is te zien op de volgende url: nimk.nl voor meer info over de getoonde werken en nimk.nl voor de curator statements.

Ik zal kort beschrijven hoe de andere curatoren het aanpakten:

Katja Novitskova selecteerde de Nederlandse Harm van den Dorpel voor een solo-presentatie binnen de context van The Greater Cloud. Zij verbond het thema van de tentoonstelling met Van den Dorpel's artistieke praktijk als een voortdurend proces van assemblage dat plaatsvindt tussen het internet, sculptuur, schilderij, collage, video, tekst en vele andere media.



Harm van den Dorpel, Assemblage (2011)

De kunstenaar maakte bijvoorbeeld deze bijna intergalactisch ogende sculpturen die hij aanvankelijk maakte als 3D renderings voor een virtuele expositie. Daarna probeerde hij de soms onmogelijke constructies fysiek uit te voeren. Erop afgebeeld zijn afbeeldingen afkomstig van het internet die te koppelen zijn aan het idee van verbondenheid; connecties in de vorm van verschillende soorten kettingen.

In een volgende ruimte zocht Aleksandra Domanovic naar nieuwe landschappen die voortkomen uit de onderlinge afhankelijkheid van telecommunicatie en geografie die door ondermeer het Internet tot stand zijn gekomen. De werken in haar presentatie varieerden van Lance Wakeling's topografische achtervolging van de Trans-Atlantische onderzeese Internetkabel tot een in opdracht van de tentoonstelling gemaakte tekst door Pablo Larios, die beiden alternatieve terreinen in kaart brachten.



Lance Wakeling, A Tour of the AC-1 Transatlantic Submarine Cable (2011)


Verder presenteerde Oliver Laric een tafel van Marjolijn Dijkman. Deze is gebaseerd op de tafel van de 'Lunar Society', een genootschap van intellectuele verlichtingsdenkers uit de 18e eeuw die veel invloed hadden op de industriële revolutie. De tafel was een ontmoetingsplek en vormde de basis voor ideeën over significante technologische ontwikkelingen. Deze 21e-eeuwse versie van de tafel functioneerden ook als een verzamelplaats waarop werken stonden van de kunstenaar Pamela Rosenkranz en objecten van buiten de kunstwereld als 3D geprinte objecten en buiten de legale kanalen geproduceerde telefoons uit China die sneller inspelen op nieuwe ontwikkelingen en vooruitgang.



Marjolijn Dijkman, LUNÄ (2011) Pamela Rosenkranz, Firm Beings (2009-heden)


Deze werken en kunstenaars zijn minder makkelijk als Internetkunst te bestempelen en gaan voor Oliver Laric eerder over vooruitgang en vernieuwing in de huidige tijd waarvan het Internet voor hem een uitingsvorm is. Laric wilde een platform tonen waar op een meer experimentele, kritische manier over de toekomst na te denken valt en presenteerde objecten die refereerden aan nieuwe creativiteit, nieuwe noties omtrent origineel en kopie en nieuwe productiemogelijkheden die samenhangen met de mogelijkheden die het Internet voortbrengt.

Ook het publiek kreeg in The Greater Cloud de kans om als curator op te treden. Een van de tentoonstellingsruimtes was ingericht met een blog over de tentoonstelling en aangesloten op een projector. Iedereen kon online werken zoeken en uploaden en zo de ruimte vullen met kunst van hun eigen voorkeur (zie http://nimk.nl/blog/thegreatercloud/).

In de gang had ik projecten geselecteerd van Marlie Mul, Lance Wakeling en David Horvitz waarin de distributie van het Internet op verschillende manieren voor hun publicatie-projecten was ingezet. Zo was Private Circulation een maandelijks PDF bulletin van Lance Wakeling dat tussen 2008 en 2010 per e-mail werd uitgebracht. Het was alleen mogelijk om de pdf’s te ontvangen door je erop te abonneren. De pdf’s werden vervolgens bij verschijning aan de abonnee gemaild. Het was niet mogelijk om tijdens het project de pdf’s online te downloaden als je geen abonnee was - een a-typische aanpak ten opzichte van de gebruikelijke omgang met online informatie. In de nummers werden voorstellen, niet gerealiseerde projecten, korte geschiedenissen, foto-collecties, grote posters, essays en sculpturen opgenomen. En het project XYM van Marlie Mul is een online project met de mogelijkheid om pdf publicaties te downloaden. De gratis te downloaden pdf bestanden hebben een naderende uiterste houdbaarheidsdatum en heeft de conservering ervan in het vooruitzicht. Hoe lang de publicatie online blijft op de website kan per werk bepaald worden (1 seconde tot oneindig) maar het aftelproces begint direct. De bestanden mogen de download vriendelijke grootte van 25 MB niet overschrijden. Hierdoor is de website een zelf vernieuwend platform voor artistieke data files die letterlijk opereert binnen de marges van je computerscherm en de rand van het bureau.

Ik koos in ‘mijn ruimte’ voor werken van de kunstenaars Martijn Hendriks, David Horvitz, Marisa Olson, Jon Rafman, Alexandre Singh, Ryan Trecartin en Artie Vierkant. Mijn statement voor de The Greater Cloud ging als volgt:
Het Internet is banaal en alomtegenwoordig, en wordt geassocieerd met de ineenstorting van de fysieke ruimte binnen onze digitale cultuur. Het wordt gekarakteriseerd door een onbeperkte reproduceerbaarheid, de constante mutatie van digitaal materiaal evenals door een oneindigheid in de vorm van voortdurende zoektochten op Internet, en door de tijdloosheid van de virtuele wereld. De vrije distributie van informatie op het Internet heeft tijdelijkheid, performativiteit en het efemere tot gevolg. Niets is permanent of statisch; verandering, beweging en flux overheersen.

De werken delen verschillende van deze aan het Internet gerelateerde eigenschappen. Hun oorsprong ligt in digitale files, internet bronnen of zelfs in herinneringen, tegelijkertijd delen ze allemaal een opvallende fysieke aanwezigheid, zij het als print, video, sculptuur, projectie of collage. Ze bestaan zowel in de digitale als in de materiële wereld en de scheidingslijn tussen het origineel, de kopie of de documentatie is vervaagd. Deze werken zetten ons aan het denken over de gedigitaliseerde cultuur waarin we leven, het internet en zelfs de veroudering van technologie in relatie tot kunst en het (performatieve) object.
In de werken van de kunstenaars circuleren de volgende elementen vrijelijk: het vrij rondwaren van informatie op het Internet dat resulteert in efemere, tijdelijke en performatieve vormen en aan de andere kant tonen de werken het hybride karakter van digitale, analoge en 3D elementen.

Zo toonde het werk van Artie Vierkant via een geprojecteerde website documentatiefoto’s van een tweetal 2-dimensionale werken die aan de muur hangen in een white cube. De documentatiefoto’s zijn bewerkt door toepassing van verschillende retoucheringstechnieken, digitale watermerken en collage methoden. Deze effecten komen voort uit het werk zelf en worden geassocieerd met het originele werk. Door de toepassing van watermerken (een teken van schijnbare authenticiteit) en versies kunnen de beelden uiteenvallen in verschillende vormen waarbij de een niet meer of minder authentiek is dan de ander. De objecten raken verspreid en verstrikt in een web van verschillende versies en distributiekanalen. Ze lijken op elkaar, maar zijn nooit echt hetzelfde.

Een ander voorbeeld is afkomstig van de eveneens Amerikaanse schilder, fotograaf en performance kunstenaar David Horvitz die in 2009 zijn kunstenaarsboek ‘Rarely Seen Bas Jan Ader Film’ publiceerde. Een paar jaar eerder beweerde Horvitz dat hij een verloren film had ontdekt van de Nederlandse conceptuele kunstenaar Bas Jan Ader die in 1975 vermist raakte op zee. De film zou zijn gevonden bij de Universiteit van Californie in Irvine waar Ader voor zijn verdwijning had gedoceerd. Voordat het als boek uitgegeven was is de video te zien geweest op verschillende online bronnen als YouTube. De video werd herhaaldelijk op verzoek van de galerie die de erfgenamen van Ader vertegenwoordigt verwijderd door YouTube. Maar tijdens ‘The Greater Cloud’ was het gelukkig te zien op YouTube en verwijst het wederom naar authenticiteit, distributie(kanalen), mystificeren en auteurschap wat allemaal aspecten zijn die complexer zijn geworden door uitingen op, en het gebruik van het Internet.

Maar om weer over The Greater Cloud in zijn geheel te spreken toonde de expositie een nieuwe generatie kunstenaars waarvoor het Internet alomtegenwoordig is, en (wat ik) banaal (noem). De invloed van het Internet op de hedendaagse kunst wordt tegenwoordig door kunstenaars/theoretici als Gene McHugh, Marisa Olson en Artie Vierkant Post-Internet Art genoemd - een term bedacht door de kunstenaar Marisa Olson in 2008. Gene McHugh definitie betreft “art responding to (a condition) described as 'Post-Internet'- when the Internet is less a novelty and more a banality.” Kunstenaar Artie Vierkant definieert Post-Internet: “as a result of the contemporary moment: inherently informed by ubiquitous authorship, the development of attention as currency, the collapse of physical space in networked culture, and the infinite reproducibility and mutability of digital materials”. Zo schreef Marisa Olson hieromtrent ook over: “the impacts of the Internet on culture at large, and this can be done well on networks but can and should also exist offline.”

En of je dit nu Post-Internet Art of gewoon Internetkunst moet noemen laat ik voor het moment in het midden. De kunstenaars waar ik hierboven over sprak, en die in de tentoonstelling waren opgenomen maken geen, of niet alleen, digitaal of online werk, maar werken interdisciplinair en produceren sculpturen, video's, foto-prints, installaties of teksten. The Greater Cloud bevatte “art that exists because of the internet, or is influenced by the internet” zoals de kunstenaar Cory Arcangel eens heeft gezegd.

Een andere tentoonstelling die onder andere aansloot op de recente discussie over hoe het Internet de hedendaagse kunst beïnvloedt, was de door Lauren Cornell gecureerde tentoonstelling 'Free' in het New Museum in New York (2010-2011). Een andere term die de laatste tijd veel gebruikt wordt is de term 'New Aesthetic'. Zoals op Wikipedia geschreven staat: “The New Aesthetic is a term used to refer to the increasing appearance of the visual language of digital technology and the Internet in the physical world, and the blending of virtual and physical. The phenomenon has been around for a long time but lately James Bridle and partners have surfaced the notion through a series of talks and observations. The term gained a wider following a panel at the SXSW conference in 2012.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Aesthetic

En ook hier is weer veel discussie rond de vraag of deze 'New Aesthetic' nu wel bestaat, of het inderdaad nieuw is, of helemaal niet. En ook nu wil ik dit voor het moment alleen noemen en we zullen zien hoe we hier over tien jaar op terugkijken. Feit blijft dat het Internet nu alomtegenwoordig is voor heel veel kunstenaars en dat deze impact terug te



v.l.n.r. Alexandre Singh, Assembly Instructions (IKEA) (2008)
Martijn Hendriks, By means of precise and finite summarization (2011)
Jon Rafman, New Age Demanded (2011)


zien is in diverse soorten werken, of je dat nu Internetkunst, Post-Internet kunst of the New Aesthetic wilt noemen. Ik vind het interessant dat het niet meer zo'n klein clubje kunstenaars is dat met, rond en via het internet kunst maakt. Internetkunst blijft mij boeien en hopelijk blijven kunstenaars nog heel lang gefascineerd door het medium, net als het geval is bij video. Het Internet is als kunstenaarsmedium misschien wel volwassen geworden.



v.l.n.r.
Artie Vierkant, Image Objects (2011)
David Horvitz, Rarely Seen Bas Jan Ader Film (2009)
Ryan Trecartin, Roamie View: History Enhancement (Re’Search Wait’S) (2009-2010)


Artie Vierkant, Image Objects (2011) (detail)

Petra Heck 2012

Foto credits: Cassander Eeftinck

Temporary Stedelijk (7)

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Temporary Stedelijk (7) is the last exhibition on this website. Since February 2012 we, Kalle Mattsson and Amber van den Eeden, have organized four online exhibitions on temporarystedelijk.com and temporarystedelijk.nl. We bought these domain names when we found out the Stedelijk Museum had neglected to do so.

In the first three exhibitions ‘Temporary Stedelijk (4), (5) and (6)’ the works of young, well known and less well known artists from Amsterdam were shown. Artists who are connected to the city of Amsterdam.

In this last virtual exhibition we have chosen to show net art: an art form which takes place within the context of the computer. We thought this was a fitting way to end our online initiative. Net art is a field in which the Netherlands has played a significant role on an international level since the beginning of the 90's. Yet, within the Netherlands it keeps escaping the attention of most curators, museums and therefore the audience.

We have put together a collection of works by the very early pioneers and the young generations of net artists of today. It gives an overview of what has happened in the field of net art over the last 17 years.

Temporary Stedelijk (7) shows works by Jodi, Constant Dullaart, Peter Luining, Jan Robert Leegte, Mouchette, Moniker, Jonas Lund, Rafaël Rozendaal and Jonathan Sachse Mikkelsen. The contributions in text are written by Josephine Bosma, Annet Dekker, Petra Heck and Sandra Fauconnier.

Thank you for visiting,
Amber & Kalle

Mattsson / Van den Eeden