on the Internet? Leading authorities will debate its evolution
and future at UC Berkeley symposium
Kathleen Maclay, Public Affairs
Think Internet and you think tons of data, downloading music,
hot start-up companies and on-line shopping. But art in cyberspace
may not quickly come to mind.
emerging genre of Internet art, however, is gaining practitioners,
critics and observers while raising questions about identity,
human territory, communication, culture and technology, sacred
places, time, aesthetic value and meaning.
and Historical Issues in Net Art," dubbed CRASH, will be
held Feb. 16-19 at the University of California, Berkeley, to
explore these questions and others about the role of the Internet
in 20th century art.
is not 'Yet Another Net Art Festival'," cautioned Ken Goldberg,
one of the program's coordinators, who also is a UC Berkeley
industrial engineering professor and an Internet artist.
select group of noted historians, art curators and critical
theorists will join Internet artists as symposium participants
in public and private discussions and programs. Many of these
critics and scholars have had little or no prior exposure to
really innovative about this is we're essentially bringing two
worlds together," Goldberg said. "Hopefully, that's
where the sparks will fly."
guests at the symposium include:
Hal Foster, well-known art historian, editor of the journal
"October," and professor of modern art history at
David Ross, curator of the San Francisco Modern Art Museum.
The museum recently appointed a new media curator who is a specialist
in Internet art and who was co-founder and curator of the now-defunct
ada'web, an on-line art exhibition program.
Steve Dietz, curator of new media at the Walker Art Center in
Minneapolis and a net art authority.
participants include Martin Jay, professor of history at UC
Berkeley; Anne Wagner, professor of art history at UC Berkeley;
Victoria Vesna , professor at UCLA's Center for Digital Arts;
Randall Packer, director of Zakros InterArts in Washington,
D.C.; Lev Manovich, professor of visual arts at UC San Diego;
and Peter Lunenfeld of the Pasadena Art Center's digital media
will be devoted to new developments within the art, to how artists
understand their own work, and to how scholars and critics can
develop interpretive and evaluative language for work that is
as likely to develop among engineers as it is among graduates
of art schools," said Charles Altieri, a UC Berkeley professor
of English and director of the campus's Consortium for the Arts.
this is a unique occasion for elaborating and testing how this
new community is developing new aesthetic principles and challenging
prevailing orthodoxy," he said. "But at the same time,
this is an occasion for confronting net artists with challenges
from those whose expectations about experimental art are shaped
by modernist and post modernist traditions."
Brixey, professor of art and director of the digital media in
the art practice department at UC Berkeley, said Internet art
has emerged even more rapidly than its most recent art and technology
forerunners such as video and multimedia, and may erroneously
appear unprecedented to the casual observer.
believe that through the rigorous dialogue and analysis at the
center of this symposium, we will be able to triangulate its
historical, critical and conceptual foundations, encourage further
academic research, and maybe even illuminate its future trajectory,"
where Internet art is headed, Steve Dietz of the Walker Art
Center quoted critic Leo Steinberg, who in 1968 said, "The
deepening inroads of art into non-art continue to alienate the
connoisseur as art defects and departs into strange territories
leaving the old stand-by criteria to rule an eroding plain."
that trend continues, Dietz said, "Net art, it seems to
me, is now leading the stampede into 'strange territories,'
and it behooves the established art world to understand it better."
On Wednesday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m., a two-hour lecture, "Signal
or Noise? The Network Museum," at Wheeler Auditorium will
kick off the symposium. Steve Dietz will share a broad sampling
of sophisticated Net art and illustrate how the average person
can find and access it.
On Friday, Feb. 18, programs at the Berkeley Art Museum Theater,
2625 Durant Ave., will offer a free glimpse of Internet art,
along with its tools, aesthetic strategies and intellectual
approaches. Seating is limited to 200.
At 10 a.m., "Worldwide Simultaneous Dance: Connecting Cyberspace
to the Global Landscape" by Laura Knott, director of the
Laura Knott Dance Projects in Boston. Hundreds of "dancers"
in different locations around the globe will appear on individuals'
At 11:15 a.m., "The Sound of Art" by sound artist
Ed Osborn of San Francisco. Osborn recorded ambient sounds created
by people viewing great works of art.
At 1 p.m., "Insurgency on the Internet," by rTMark,
a self-described "net saboteur and founder of the Barbie
At 2 p.m., "Moving Targets," a program by Lynn Hershman
Leeson, a digital artist and professor of art at UC Davis who
directed the recent feature film, "Conceiving Ada."
On Saturday, Feb. 19, the public is welcome to the final panel
discussions, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30-4 p.m.,
at the Berkeley Art Museum Theater. Space is limited to 200.
symposium is sponsored by the Consortium for the Arts at UC
Berkeley, in collaboration with the Department of Art Practice,
College of Engineering, Berkeley Art Museum and Townsend Center
for the Humanities. The UC Berkeley Extension and California
Alumni Association are sponsoring the opening address. The consortium
plans to publish transcripts of the debate to help further dialogue
about the topic.