CyberSemester: ROMs by Grrls

by Arash Ghadishah

Featured through the end of March at the Berkeley Art Museum is Techno-Grrls: Interactive CD-ROMS by Women. Techno-Grrls showcases the work of five female artists -- Zoe Beloff, Diane Bertolo, Lucia Grossberger-Morales, Adriene Jenik and Christine Tamblyn -- in an interactive multimedia environment run on CD-ROM.

Exhibit viewers use Power Macintosh computers to view the five distinct works, whose subjects range from gender issues, to metaphors of science, to experimental cinema.

Presented as part of the CyberSemester initiative, Techno-Grrls is on view in the Theater Gallery, Pacific Film Archive. The exhibit makes the communication of art an interactive process by asking viewers to conduct a self-guided tour of each piece.

Museum-goers use a mouse to navigate through virtual environments which offer links to various and often abstract video and sound clips.

Audience involvement means that the exhibit is dynamic and unique to each viewer.

George Legrady, professor of art at San Francisco State University, notes that in interactive art, "Each person walks away with a slightly different sense of events. This allows for different views of the work."

An interactive media artist himself, Legrady says that the challenge for the artist in working with interactive media lies in the conceptualization of all the possible relationships viewers can put together.

Video curator Steve Seid writes that Techno-Grrls expands the CD-ROM beyond the realm of video games and electronic books by exploring its artistic potential.

"If anything, these works fly in the face of industrial conventions, demonstrating that technology can be redirected to truly enrich culture," says Seid of the exhibit.


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