Journey Through a Dataroom

Date: Tue, 7 May 96 04:23 MDT

From: Pit Schultz <>

Journey Through

a Dataroom


1. It all starts in 1953 when an art magazine was born from the intercourse between the Communist Party (as sole Provider of male ideology) and the Union of Artists (a wealthy bride with practical skills). The place of birth - Romania. The name of the child - "Arta".

2. It all starts one summer day in 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and some other illusions. The place of birth - Romania. The name of the child - subREAL. A brain child of this time. Father - boredom. Mother - fear.

3. subREAL is a process of accumulating data. A structure can be extracted from the chaos of information because structures are there, in the mess of the mass.

4. Over four decades of existence, "Arta" created its own offspring - an archive of photo-reproductions contesting to the respect that society owes to ART.

5. An embarrassing fact is that archives refer to the past, and sometimes the past stinks.

6. "Arta" died a natural death in the context of an open market and pluralism, about three years after the disappearance of its legitimate father.

7. The Art History Archive is a ready-made, inherited from a cultural corpse. (Al)ready made things are stronger than inventions - at least in the end of the arts era.

8. Media Babel. The dominance of the medium over the content erased the concept of value. Dante and Stephen King are both literature, Michael Jackson and Boulez are both music, Fellini and MTV are both moving image. Perception has come to be little more than a browse through files equalized by media contamination.

9. The archive fashion proves that myths reign over symbols, narratives over concepts.

10. Artists are more easily manipulated through their images than stimulated through criticism.

11. Photography is just a mass of non-classified information waiting, as life itself does, for the proper software and operator.

12. Using archives is more realistic strategy than using people.

13. Archives are an escapist solution in the struggle with reality.

14. Digital Realism. Socialist realism is the only period in modern art to benefit from a coherent doctrine, rigorous training, efficient promotion, a mass audience and a democratic system of reward and punishment. Art after socialist realism has a bad relationship to photo-reproductions. Which proves that new solutions had to be found in these times of electronic disturbance.

15. The shock of chance encounters. The permutation potential of an archive is theoretically unlimited. The quality of information is established through neighborhoods.

16. The third dimension. The advantage of sculpture over painting is that by reproduction it keeps more data available. Translating from 3-D into 2-D. Sculpture (and Architecture) are better sewed by the conceptual side of photography than are the "flat" arts.

17. The loss of miracle. Archives are simultaneously the Sesame mountain and the flying carpet of the digital era. They nourish both the illusion of a treasure hunt and the simulacra of fantasy travel. It is comforting to believe that now all miracles are stored in your database, as they were previously in your TV - ready to be zapped through.

18. Black & White. If you take away the color, all that remains is the story. That explains the lust for figuration: it keeps the narratives alive. Color is subjective data; color reproductions are just cool techno games. In order to understand a painting without effective narratives, full contact is required. In a context of media, painting is obsolete.

19. Archives stimulate consumerism rather than reflection.

20. Photography came into the world of categories as an ambiguous monster - simultaneously medium and object. For the first time in history, human perception was challenged by a discourse possessing the coolness of communication and the softness of art, the speed of language and the silliness of allegory.

21. If History is an archive of collective memories, the future is unnecessary.

(From their Catalogue at Künstlerhaus Bethanien 1996)