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 pathPublic Sphere_sicon: navigation pathPublic Sphere_s
PDPal (Bleecker/Paterson/Zurkow), 2003

icon: previous page

historian and media critic Tilman Baumgärtel has also written, mail art is «a type of art developed from the Fluxus movement which can be considered a (non-technological) precursor of many telecommunications and Internet projects.» [33] Mail art and Net art are both built on top of networks, through which, theoretically, «art could be democratized and made more accessible.» Paradoxically, as Baumgärtel points out, this did not increase its visibility, «it was the network character that made mail art artists a closed group to which one either belonged or did not.»


With billboards, however, one does not have to participate as a producer to participate as a consumer. The issue for artists, rather, as with TV, is how to both compete with and differentiate from commercial advertising messages. As Les Levine, who created one of the earliest outdoor billboard campaigns «Aim, Race, Take, Steal» in Los Angeles and Minneapolis in 1982–83 writes: «I have for many years concerned myself with the systems of art as they relate to society in general,


that is to say with the sociological value of art and art’s real service to society. Media are my materials. I am interested in using media to effect change and understanding of our environment. I want to consider media as a natural resource and to mold media the way others would mold matter. In that sense my new work could be considered media sculpture.» [34] As billboards have become more media-based, so has their use. Jenny Holzer is famous for her various outdoor electronic signage projects. For the media_city seoul biennial, 2000, Hans Ulrich Obrist curated 42 electronic billboards throughout the city by artists including Christian Boltanski, Zaha Hadid, and Pipilotti Rist. Since 2000, Creative Time in New York has sponsored «The 59th Minute» on the NBC Astrovision by Panasonic in New York, a series of 60 second video clips by contemporary artists—including one for «PDPal.» [35] It is the addition of network connections, as with Zhang Ga’s «The People’s Portrait,» however, that begins to make it possible to imagine these billboards as sites of public discourse and not simply public address.

For her project «Poétrica» (2003), Giselle Beiguelman created a font of dingbats and system

icon: next page