Note: If you see this text you use a browser which does not support usual Web-standards. Therefore the design of Media Art Net will not display correctly. Contents are nevertheless provided. For greatest possible comfort and full functionality you should use one of the recommended browsers.

Themesicon: navigation pathOverview of Media Articon: navigation pathCommunication

icon: previous page

occurrences between the participants. In what is considered to be one of the electronic realm's first collaborative writing projects, artists in sixteen cities on three continents were interconnected for twenty-four hours. During this time, they drafted a kind of telematic world map, a «gesamt-datawork»[24] created over the telephone as well as then exotic apparatuses like telefacsimile (telefax) and slow-scan television (a type of early «video telephone»).[25] The project attempted to work outside the prevailing commercial usage of communications networks in order to «create individual access to telecommunications media and to develop strategies for their artistic deployment. The artistic dimension of the overall project consists precisely however not in creating special objects–‹artworks›–with means such as fax, but in establishing dialogical interchange relationships, that is to say: special relations among the participants who ‹produce› communicative occurrences.»[26]

Artistic work with computers and electronic networks takes to a technological extreme that «de-materialization of the object» Lucy Lippard emphasized in regard to the earlier concept art. Ultimately, all


processes transacted in the electronic realm are based on immaterial information. These «immaterials»[27] are process-based in nature and, in similar fashion to performances, leave behind neither traces nor auratic objects (let alone unique artifacts): «Products or objects originating in telecommunications projects are merely documentary relicts of an activity that took place in the electronic realm.»[28] Moreover, according to Ascott the people participating in, and sharing, electronic space could no longer be clearly divided into «artists» and «viewers,» into «producers» and «consumers»: «One can no longer stand at a window and view the scene composed by somebody else; rather, one is invited to pass through the door to a world in which interaction is all.»[29] Yet, due to the low penetration levels of new technologies, the notion of participation must be qualified in regard to these early telecommunications projects insofar as participation was confined to a small number of fellow artists. The role of the general public was mainly restricted to reading and watching–without the option of active intervention.

icon: next page