Amsterdam Upgrade & interactive arts now…

Wednesday-night four (ex)-students/artists presented their works at Amsterdam’s Upgrade: Dragana Antic, Jonas Vorwerk, Ralf Baecker and Daan Brinkmann. Very good work from all four of them. Very good. Yet, both Kristina Andersen and me were missing something… grittyness maybe?

(Kristina, Aadjan van der Helm and me were the panel. Felt a bit strange with Matthew Fuller, Florian Cramer, Eric Kluitenberg, Josephine Bosma, Richard de Boer, Tanya Gorucheva, Anne Nigten, Michael Murtaugh, and who am I forgetting? in the public. And I felt I wasn’t very sharp).

Apparently we’ve come at a point were ‘we’ (well, art students & artists working in the interactive field) know very well how to make installations that are working smooth, are reactive, are intuitively pulling you into the world (or game), and are ‘nice’ to interact with. We know how to do it, what works and what doesn’t. It is as if we have figured out the ‘aesthetics of interaction’. That leads to the question, ‘why?’ (why this work?), what does it do? and why is that important, what’s it “saying” or doing to me — what does that experience mean, what does it “say”, or critize, “complexify” or clarify, waht does it change, what does it ‘estrange’ (Dragana Antic was very much inspired by the Russian Formalists’ idea of ostranenie).

Is there a “way out” of just “nice interaction” for these sort of works? (Or could that also be enough — I guess that depend on what one expects of art…). I had the feeling that however great the works presented were, they seemed to be lacking a strong answer to those questions. There is definitely something of an answer in Dragana Antic work (maybe more in her theory than in the installation itself — though I should be careful with that, I did not spend that many minutes inside it). Ralf Baecker seems to work in another direction — landscapes carved out by a milling machine on the basis of search queries typed into a German search engine (and the project that he is working on now — he told me about it afterwards — makes me very curious).

I do not have an answer ready. (Though, if I had a hardcore theory about what good art is, and what bad art, based on — for instance — an Adorno-inspired avant-garde programme, I could come up with some readymade answers… But that’s not my style). I’ll be thinking about it…

Dragana Antic: http://pzwart2.wdka.hro.nl/~dantic/D/F/main.html
Jonas Vorwerk: http://www.beatnologic.com/site/homepage.php
Ralf Baecker: http://www.no-surprises.de/
Daan Brinkmann: http://www.daanbrinkman.nl/ (offline now?)

en,research | September 29, 2006 | 14:53 | comments (0) |

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