Patrick Lichty on Wed, 3 May 2000 21:26:49 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Through The Looking Glass (2x)

1............. Through the Looking Glass
                 Contemporary Digital and Technological Art
2..............Curatorial Statement

Through the Looking Glass
Contemporary Digital and Technological Art

Gallery Exhibition:
April 15th through April 30th, 2000,
The Beachwood Center for the Arts, 25511 Fairmount Blvd.

Online Exhibition
May 1st, 2000 to April 15th, 2001 (minimum)

 Digital prints, an interactive sound grid, neon sculpture, kinetics,
generative music. These are the arts at the turn-of-the-millennium. Those
familiar with the Internet experience technological media all the time, but
collectors, museums, and galleries are beginning to appreciate the growing
use of technological media in the fine arts. The Beachwood Arts Council
presents Through the Looking Glass, a survey of the creative potential
within current technological advances. The gallery show featured
mixed-media 'paintings', CD-ROM installations, neon sculptures and
interactive sound environments. And with the closure of the gallery
exhibition on April 30, the online portion of the exhibiton becomes
central, located at http// where the works of over 80 of
the world's most prominent gallery and Internet artists with noted cultural
theorists are featured. In addition, the online component includes a
virtual recreation of the Beachwood Center for the Arts gallery and
"exhibits", allowing visitors to see the layout of the physical exhibition.

Additional plans may include an online forum to discuss issues of
contemporary art practice in technological media, contingent on response to
the exhibit.

Curator Patrick Lichty is a conceptual media artist and cultural theorist
whose solo and collaborative works have been presented at the Walker Art
Center, New York Digital Salon, ZKM Karlsruhe and the Whitney Biennial. He
brings noted artists such as Mark Amerika, Natalie Bookchin, Shu Lea
Cheang, David Crawford, Jerry Domokur, and Roman Verostko with critics
Steve Dietz, Alex Galloway, Lev Manovich, and Eugene Thacker to the Through
the Looking Glass site, making it the first of its kind at the Beachwood
gallery and the Cleveland area.

Patrick Lichty is available to provide additional information at the

8211 E. Wadora NW
N. Canton, Ohio, 44720

Gallery Artists
Carol Adams - Selected Sculptures
Cliff Bheum - Print
Helene Black - Identities
Jerry Domokur - Print
Wayne Draznin - NIagara, & Trinity Test
Bill Ellsworth - Digital Prints
W. Logan Fry - CyberTextiles
haymarket RIOT - MACHINE/WEB
Caroline Koebel - C2000
Patrick Lichty & Scott Draves (GridBomb)
Patrick Lichty - Selected Prints
Greg Little - Body of Text
Kazuhiko Saika - Selected works
Jenny Marketou - SmellBytes
Patrick Maun - Outside Looking Inside
Noriko Meguro - Digital Prints
Rayner/Turner - Cycle Engines
Michael Rees - Digital Sculptures
RTMark - Selected Works
Roman Verostko - Manchester Illuminated Turing Machine
Yumiko Yokoi - Selected Works

CD-ROM Artists
Kuljit Chuhan - Resonance
Fujihata/Furukawa/Munch - Small Fish
Glendenning/Etchells (w/Forced Entertainment) - Nightwalks
Raivo Kelomees - Tokyo City
Barbara Lattanzi - Wilderness Puppets
Calin Man - The Golden Virus

The Rotator (continuous rotating slide show)
Johnathan Allen (UK) Cliff Behum (USA) Danko Djuric (Serbia) Bill Ellsworth
(USA) Lale Erguner (Turkey) David Graham (USA) Juan Carlos Gomez de la Torre
(Ecuador) Keith Hunter (USA) Dennis Jennings (USA) Yasushi Kitami (Japan)
Michael Krasowitz (USA) UK Nakagawa (Japan) Hiro Nakano (Japan) Kazuhiko
Saika(Japan) Vedran Vucic (Slovenia) Zach Wilson (USA) Yoko Dholbachie=

The VRML Gallery (with Tsugihiko Tanaka - in development)

Online Artists
Mark Amerika - GRAMMATRON
Michael Atavar - ****
Natalie Bookchin - Intruder
Brad Brace - GreenScreens
David Crawford -
Shu Lea Cheang - HoME2
Critical Art Ensemble - Cult of the New Eve
Everett/Pedley -The Circadia Project
exonemo - Discoder
Mary Flanagan - Phage
Aleksandra Globokar - ASCII-Tecture
Oliver Hockenhull - Building Heaven, Remembering Earth: Confessions of a=
Intima  - intimate mobile communications art project
Knight/Smith et al - Road Apple Test
Tiia Johannson - Get.real
Tina LaPorta - Distance
Mashica - NOWASH
Artur Matuck - Landscript
MTAA - In Ohio, In the Fall, You Were Young
Mark Napier - =A9Bots
Petterd/Caney - Archiving Memory
Jonathan Prince - LOMOgraphy
David Quin  - Antarctica 2000
Melinda Rackham - carrier
Recombinant History Apparatus  - TERMINAL TIME
Schrieber, et al - Third Generation
Wolfgang Staehle - Empire 24/7
Nicole Stenger  - MY FAUX CINEMA
 Paul Vanouse  - The Persistent Data Confidante
The Virtual Africa Project

Critical texts by:
Susan Ballard - My viewing body does not end at the skin
Brian Carroll - The Archtecture of Electricity
Steve Dietz - Why Have There Been No Great Net Artists?
DX Raiden (KIT) and Scott Weir (Artengine) - Mediated Intoxication:=
with double vision
Alex Galloway - The Avant-Garde Never Gives Up
Lev Manovich - To be Announced in May
Kylie Message - Being Within Story, Screen, and Museum Space
Robbin Neal Murphy - To be Announced in May
Eugene Thacker - "Appropriate Technology: Artificial Products, Mediation,=
Streaming Media
Vedran Vucic - Toward Alive Art

2................ Curatorial Statement

Through the Looking Glass is an exhibition of exploration. In an age of
emergent digital technologies like wireless networks and the Internet, our
monitors and information devices are set before us like analogues of
Carroll's mirror, beckoning us to explore the world on the other side. And,
once inside, will we be confronted with a phantasmagorical land of wonders,
or a terrain we never expected, such as the Brothers Wachowski's film, The
Matrix. In looking at the landscape of technological art, TTLG attempts to
explore the global digital scene, examine its questions of engagement and
access, and capture a snapshot of the digital arts at the turn of the third
millennium. When assembling this exhibition, I considered these issues in
regards to a focus on personal, local, and global perspectives. In this
way, TTLG is much like a fractal in which we can continuously burrow deeper
into the rabbit hole. The surroundings may look similar, but something just
a little 'different' turns up just around the corner.

When TTLG was first proposed, it was merely a two-man show of digital
print. In discussing the possibilities with the art center's staff, it
seemed to me that the potential for a much more encompassing show of work
was at hand and the call for works went out on the international scene
through the Internet. The response was overwhelming, as over 200 artists
submitted works to the exhibit. Even at the point of the call for works,
TTLG was envisioned as much more tightly focused show. But, in considering
the theme as framed by the show's title, it seemed fitting that as the
Internet has expanded at near-geometric rates, the criteria for the show
should expand as well. An exhibition of diverse works, a tour of the
world's static, electronic, and critical work on the digital medium; TTLG
is atrip through the digital domain to examine how many artists are
traversing it themselves in theory and practice.

Although there have been exhibitions including various forms of electronic
art in Northeast Ohio in the past few years, and even a couple which have
focused on the digital medium, none have attempted to address the physical,
virtual and textual investigations of electronic art in such a broad scope.
In so doing, TTLG also creates a media resource for visitors interested in
a focused snapshot of digital art practice, and in this way I am very
pleased in the way the show has shaped itself.

 From a global perspective, TTLG probes the question as to whether the
World Wide Net is truly worldwide. How deep has the globe been saturated by
digital technology? Where are artists most engaged with technological art?
What are the issues of politics, access, and language that limit the
McLuhanist vision of one world under the Net? Well, this is an article unto
itself, but it was not surprising that language, politics, and
socioeconomic factors limited the response I received from the Middle East,
South America, Asia, and especially Africa. There is a certain myopia that
technology places upon the First World that English is the lingua franca,
and that the world itself by default should have universal access to the
Internet at the year 2000. As revealed by the entries received, such is not
the case, but certain areas, like Eastern Europe, were startling in the
vibrant nature of their involvement in the digital arts.

This mix of global scope with localized involvement shaped some of my
criteria for inclusion within the exhibition. For example, some of the work
from Japan and Eastern Europe surprised me in its diversity in thought if
not technique, challenged me to rethink my own views as to what constitutes
art in regards to technology, especially the Internet. So, in response to
this personal experience of reviewing these works, I once again broadened
my criteria. This widening of criteria was done so that the visitor to this
site (and the gallery), can consider the cultural matrix which created some
of these works and contemplate how these issues of locality construct the
basis of art, both traditional and electronic.

The practice of digital art, whether in the exploding area of Internet art
or in print, video, installation, or other genres, fills me with a sense of
excitement and foreboding when considering the narratives of commerce,
technological determinism/elitism, and acceptance (of the genre). The press
release mentioned that Internet art is one of the new 'hot' areas of
collecting, but are we not back to Warhol in its reproducibility? Also, in
the highly capitalistic era of the turn of the millennium, we are
confronted with the materialist issues of digital art and the funding for
an ephemeral medium. Perhaps these models of funding are being rendered
obsolete as technology is rendering itself obsolete every year, and maybe
genres like Internet art are more like performance than painting, but this
too is a subject for another essay.

The acceptance of any technology over a period of time gradually assures
its ubiquity. The fact that electricity has been a commodity for slightly
more of a century does not erase the assumption by many that since it has
been part of our lives since birth, it has always been here. The same will
probably become true of the computer, as there are already two generations
that have not known a world without them. However, I wonder about the
issues of control and expression that such a process might evoke. For
example, will Internet art always be limited to Netscape and Microsoft
browsers, should electronic art center on the computer, and is
technological art always electronic in nature? We are in danger as
curators, artists, and patrons of making these blanket assumptions as
Western Society forges on into the Digital Age, and to do so would sadly
limit our possibility for communication and expression. But, as virtual
reality pioneer Jaron Lanier once said, "The mindset that wins is usually
the one with the highest 'coolness' factor", It will be interesting to see
what we will consider 'cool', and who might define those cultural standards
for us.

Through the Looking Glass, is an exciting and sobering show. It showcases a
wide spectrum of work in a dizzying array of media. TTLG is heartening in
that it shows the burgeoning field of electronic art as a rich field of
artistic inquiry that is only in its adolescence, and has far to go.
However, it also shows the myopia of technology as it often fails to
consider cultures outside the reach of the wires. So, in many respects,
TTLG is the rabbit hole that begs for your entry. But it also asks you to
question who owns the dirt the hole burrows into, how deep the hole
actually goes, and who is allowed to go down the hole itself. It calls us
to question the role of technology itself in the arts, and whether
technology is only a reflection of the human condition, a glass through
which we peer darkly at ourselves.

The glass is before you, will you enter?

Patrick Lichty, March 2000

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