Robert Atkins on Wed, 3 May 2000 21:12:18 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> File Room Back Online

CONTACT: Ken Jordan 212-246-0202, x3021;


One of the earliest and most impressive examples of online media art is
New York-based artist Antoni Muntadas's "File Room". Debuting in 1994,
this interactive archive of two millennia of social and cultural
censorship chronicles hundreds of cases of perceived censorship,
sometimes, but not always, covered in the media or other public forums. It
invokes questions about the character of censorship itself and offers a
repository, or hidden history, of thwarted personal and communal
expression.  Any visitor to "The File Room" may add new cases of
censorship to the database by filling out a simple online form. Or search
the site by geography, subject matter, medium or time period. The result
is a powerful experience that makes real the insidious nature and effects
of censorship.  It can be seen on-line at

" is delighted to present and host 'The File Room,' said
Robert Atkins, the site's Media Arts editor.  "We see it as the anchor of
our Media Arts section, and a perceptive critique of the 'consciousness
industry.' This celebrated artwork was one of the first on the World Wide
Web, back in the days of Mosaic." 

Derived from a personal experience in which Muntadas's artwork was
censored, "The File Room" is one of the artist's many works addressing
power relations within society. It was developed as a project of Randolph
Street Gallery (a non-profit art space) in collaboration with the
University of Illinois at Chicago's School of Art and Design. Following
its debut as both a physical installation and virtual artwork at the
Chicago Cultural Center on May 20, 1994,

When Randolph Street Gallery closed in 1998, Muntadas began considering
other online venues for it. Unlike conventional artworks, an interactive,
ever-growing project like "The File Room," demands computer server space
and upkeep. After many discussions with museums, Muntadas selected The
Media Channel as a kind of experiment. "Since contemporary work is not
always relevant to museums" he observed "It is important to create a new
context for it on the Net." 

The return of "The File Room" to the Web was made possible by support from
The Rockefeller Foundation.  The University of Illinois and Randolph
Street Gallery provided support for the initial realization of the

Robert Atkins

voice: 212.662.2961
fax:   212.222.4524

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