About last Ars Electronica.
The discussion on art and science goes on at Ars Electronica this year with two new elements: 1- Art Galleries (19) exposing digital art appear here and there between Europe and USA with the target of all the art galleries: expose and sell. This should quiet down the alarm of the art system about languages as economically unmanageable as old Conceptual/ Land art. The galleries create a strange neat White-Cube space even in the Sturm und Drang of dramatic and decayng spaces of the PostCity where the festival is.The choices made by the galleries go in all directions (good and bad). Objects citing digital realities,devices, gifs, compilations of digital video, video loops. The early perspectives of videoart seem to prefigure again the possibilities of new media. Famous videoart figures like Bill Viola have "bottled" their videos in compact flat screen framed in various dimensions. Sometimes the works are sold in little numbers (ten copies or even one). The same happens with digital works and Eduardo Kac shows etchings taken from his well known works on alterations of plants's DNA. So the Value of the work for sale in the gallery is both a symbolic trace of the original work and an object for sale. But New Media Art wanted direct action, going through and beyond symbols and create "realities". An its Mission was (Is?) ambitiously redefining the relationships between Humans & Body & Global Habitat. The presence of a gallery culture is anyway a new and intriguing point of discussion on our basic problems of Art & Science. Two symposia look from two different points on the problem. The first involves powerful art critics/curators Ulrich Obrist (Serpentine Gallery London) and Paul Dujardin. But while Obrist criticizes the possibilities of empathy of media art, Dujardin is much more open and involved. The second meeting was on showing documentations of works realised in wide public spaces by several artists. Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau is about Flies. "Lord of the Flies" was one of the ancient names for the Devil and their new works drive toward the dark side abandoning their old clearly drawn psycological landscape. Michael Sauter gets back to Oskar Schlemmer's like operations on light and shape with very good results.
The Kafka/Escher style Post City can contain litterally thousands of exposers (four thousands where the proposals arrived at the juries) and while last year it was an exciting experience, this energetic Blade Runner market this year looks still exciting but rather "too much". Too much in proposals, too much to see and cope with. "After the Glow" it comes the mass explosion of digital-related works. We feel the need of a different order and a different exibition structures. An interesting idea is the "Gluon Project" that reverses the usual pattern of "artist going in residence in a science space" to scientists invited to live and work in an art space with artists.
There would be much more to say, but i hope this may strike up a conversation on what is still the bigger exibition in digital art in Europe.
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