PIRATE RADIO INTERVIEWS, PART 2
Moderated by Scott delaHunta
Per Platou, Niels Bogaards, Gisle Frøysland
where are you Ellen?
bed with my coffee.
those who are listening out there in radio land. We're here participating in
a project under the auspices of the New Media Institute, a co-production with
Hot Wired Live Art and The Banff Centre for the Arts. This is the second hwla
workshop that we are participated in.
had this opportunity to use radio 90 to broadcast this chat. Out beyond the
building and the perimeter of The Banff Centre, which is very much in keeping
with the concept behind this version Hot Wired Live Art, which is Airwaves.
Which is the focus of a lot of the work that we have been doing since the 18th
of August. Ways that we can wirelessly communicate between spaces and people.
And today we have our last experiment today where I understand we will be setting
up homemade antennas between one mountain top and another.
we had Michelle, Ellen and Sher talking about, quite a bit of chat about KeyStroke.
But at the end of the conversation we began. (gets interrupted by walkie talkies)
One of the things I was thinking. At the end of the discussion yesterday about programs, different kinds of artists' programs, I think I mentioned an interest in the tool. There are so many artists and programmers building these kinds of tools, KeyStroke is a kind of tool, and then spreading that kind of tool out amongst the artistic community to use in different ways. And it reminds me of a quote from one of our favorite Human Generosity quote, the Brian Eno quote where he talks about the future of artmaking where art tools and and art making will become more integrated as an art practice and I wonder if anybody had any thoughts. Per Platou?
I do because what he actually said was that in the future artistic tools were
going to generate generators of some kind. But what Jim Andrews failed to mention
that he said that on the occasion of the launch of his Koan tool. Since then
he's kind of gone back on that and is kind of laughing about it. We never get
rid of the brush and the piano and the violin. There will be everything from
automatic art to pencil and brush kind of art. I mean, it's been like that and
it's going to stay like that. So this is slightly a critical remark towards
embracing that comment. I don't believe that future tools will be these self
making art tools because that is not what art is about. If that is what it's
about then it's about making the tool. And in that case I would agree to it
being a piece of art.
think that is a good clarification. I don't think either that there will be.
The generative tools, the tools that generate through machine processes artworks,
they're are interesting to me and I find them intriguing but I'm thinking more
about the processes of making the tools and tool like devices out of a combination
of hardware and software that then people [use]. And in a way Jim's online,
for whatever way you think of them are essentially providing for the user a
kind of tool to work with and there is a lot of that. We saw The Collage Machine
(Andruid's), lots of people making these often internet based sites where people
can come in (The Apartment) as a kind of artmaking tool. So I'm just curious
in that shift of the practice of making something of maybe a way for the object
or even the performance into this thing that you can then so quickly disseminate
over the net.
think it is interesting what Per is saying in that the art is in the making
of the tool. But that goes for a lot of those programs we have seen emerging
today like in particular Nato where you have this whole huge concept that surrounds
the software and also you get a lot of...the software itself sort of makes you
go into certain directions, artistically, and it is really hard for the users
to break out of that and do totally different things because the software wants
you to go in certain aesthetic directions.
that is partly true, but not entirely. I was talking with Ellen the other day
about what happened at DEAF in Rotterdam last November where she took part in
a workshop with 30 other Nato artists and they were basically showing each other
the same patch. They wrote the different codes but they were actually doing
the same thing. But that is an aesthetic, but one should be really be...you
have to twist your head to get around that aesthetic. And KeyStroke is the same,
I mean I've seen that butterfly in the media folder a thousand times and some
people when they see it think that this is what KeyStroke is really about.
but I think it's mainly about interfacing. It's which inputs and which outputs
are the ones that you see first. I'm not sure that you can really blame the
software for making certain things easier or obvious. As long as it is open
enough to experiment. With Nato or Max or KeyStroke the number of instruments
that you may build is so enormous that I don't you can say this is Nato and
this is KeyStroke. You can if you use all the defaults. But using all the defaults
on the guitar brings you boring music. I always like to see what Hendrix did,
he took a tool which was a fine tool and just went for all the limits and that
is where the really interesting things happen. If you don't want to dive into
it at all, it you don't want to explore of course you are going to end up with
the defaults. Of course the default is the only thing that is identical for
every user. But I'm not sure if you should blame the tool for that.
but a little bit because KeyStroke has some features that Nato hasn't and so
on. If you buy a digeridoo, you are probably going to make different music than
if you buy a double-necked electric guitar. Both of these instruments applies
to a different kind of music, or by default it does. But then Hendrix could
play the digeridoo I guess (laughs)
well this is a style. I think what we are really looking for is the level of
quality in the art piece than the style. I think that the fact that many Nato
people look the same. That has happened because there are not so many of them
anyway and they all came out of the same mailing list the same environment,
so they are very likely to be very similar. They don't have to be I think if
just anyone would pick up Nato and have an idea then it could very different
what I mean too because, especially with the Nato, I think it is a piece of
art on the part of the maker because of the concept around it. If you are a
Nato user then you have to get involved in this community. Because, of course
Nato in itself can be used in many different ways, but you are constantly being
projected to the nn kind of aesthetics through the mailing list and the website
and these quicktime movies that he or her puts out all the time and it kind
of imposes that this is the way to use Nato and very many do.
like to say one more tiny thing about this. When I began making music and digital
art it was cubase which was the only tool out there. And there as well you can
go with all the defaults. It could always be in 4/4 time and I could copy and
move whole bars, but you don't have to and I could still use this and make highly
original things. And so it's up to the level of interest of being original of
I guess there are none of these programs come close to doing... Well these is
the obvious flash aesthetic and there's photoshop, these kinds of aesthetics
that seem to role through our extremely mediated advertising world which all
of these similar types of animations and graphics until the next filter comes
along. But I feel these are quite different to allow more room for individualized
or customizing when making something.
you can't really talk about Photoshop aesthetic. You can't do it for generalizing
purposes like we are doing now. The Photoshop aesthetic would be the one that
you see on the box when you buy it. Kind of completely ugly, tacky, multi-layered._
That's the Photoshop aesthetic, but people don't use it that way.
it's possible to break out of that aesthetic, but
absolutely and of course Flash and all that sort of things.
but there are some that just use the filters as they are and you get this kind
of photoshop aesthetic and it's also the same with all these other 3-D programs.
(3-D studio Max) where you really have to know a lot about how a program works
to be able to break out of the rules. Because the program does a lot of stuff
automatically that you don't really get to know a lot about. For instance, movement
in these 3-D programs is usually interpolated and stuff, you don't really know
what the program is doing. By default, it's hard to break out of that.
you think it would be a working option to make defaults random? Because they
are defaults so they are not giving any....they are not expressing any interest
in "okay I would like it this way". Would it work to make it random?
really. I think the only solution is to make your own program. Every artist
should make their own program. Because then you know every aspect of what that
program really does. Because with commercial software, you don't really do that.
not really. You can buy shareware programs where you know quite a bit of what
that program is doing. Standalone Max patches, freeware, shareware, you see
exactly what they are doing.
Per: I was
going to say about what you put in. I mean if you put in a default picture then
it will definitely look like a default picture. But if you put in something
else. It's a huge difference between putting in some really slick ad type graphic
that you've scanned with your new scanner and putting in some bit map photo
that you've taken using your cuseeme camera.
also...Scott mentioned the Flash aesthetics that appear on the net. There are
very few people that use Flash in a very non glossy way.
but have you seen Trashart.ru? (Scott I dont' know if this is the correct url)
And that is bad art which is really good.
think it appears to be a very not-usual time where we have artists making tools
then we have this tension between artists who will be using these tools, the
discussion about "well you haven't made the tool, to what extent are your
processes and projects defined by the artists that made these tools" as
we agree that artists are making the tools and providing them. I'm just trying
to think about another time in history where, because of the nature of software,
artists were able to produce their own tools
Per: i think
the shift happened in the sixties or in the seventies, actually you can go back
to the twenties according to Lev Manovich.
your own kind of tools? In the sixties and seventies that are then used by other
when you start producing your own stuff. The DIY stuff, punk, at the end of
the seventies it was the same thing because you could start creating your own
tools, setting up your own venues, set up your own record labels, you find new
ways of playing the instruments and it's a whole new aesthetic and language
connected to that. You saw that in the sixties with the video generation, the
late sixties, the early seventies when the portapack (spelling?) came. You start
not depending on the big manufacturers. That was tv studios in those days. And
you see the same things now, in video, film...
that time if you got a hold of a Portapak, you might possibly hack into it and
work with its materials, with its ability to, its video signal, but I don't
know to what extent you might say "look now I've taken this apart, I've
reconfigured it into a tool that I now want to give to other artists to use.
That's what I mean.
at Woody Vasulka and what he did with his things and how they collaborated,
and The Kitchen in New York in those days. I wasn't there but apparently, maybe
you were Scott, but it was exactly the same I think. Networking and taking tools
in your own hands, and creating software or creating possibilities. I would
say even creating this setup, this workshop or the last Hot Wired Live Art,
is kind of the same thing. Because you set up a set of possibilities, tools,
social screens between people in different ways. So I would say that software
is not radically different than other parts of our lives.
suppose the extent of the blend of systems, thinking and formalism, people working
with materials and breaking them down into structures and sets of instructions
that can then be picked up and reconfigured by other people. I don't think the
19th century had the same art possiblities, probably more in science and making
scientific tools for measuring. I think that is were a lot of the heavy duty
creativity was in the 19th century. There was tool making but for scientific
also for artistic purposes because they were very much linked, but the big difference
nowadays, especially with the internet, is that everyone is able to join. That's
the real evolution, that things aren't expensive anymore and there's not that
much difference in where you are if you have an idea then you can do it. This
is again in Nato is very apparent. You don't know where they are, who they are.
Could be anyone and the fact that you can be so independent, that's a whole
new thing I think. And this began in the punk era when you were allowed to be
paradox of course being that we have all been involved in online kind of streaming
for a couple of years on the internet. Most of us realizing that although you
have potentially a 100 million viewers or listeners, you might just get two
and those are your friends or friends of friends. So it's more like it's a media
thing, I very rarely go into other people's streams. I sometimes do it actually,
I do it for listening to the radio. Radio on the internet is great, but looking
at performances on the internet, it's pretty boring actually. But it's an interesting
concept for ones in the space. I mean hc said in his catalogue for his Berlin
exhibition that it has to be one physical occasion and he said explicitly one.
That is, in his experience, the best way. The main focus in one place and letting
others throw in.
but this is maybe again a default issue. If you have a software that is made
for multiuser like IVisit then you will want to be distributed and you can focus
on that and make really nice things with it. When I see what Ellen and Michelle
have done I think it's really cool. And I'd rather have that on the internet
than in one space.
is why, for KeyStroke, as it is now is not a kind of public space. It will be
limited to a couple of users that know the program. But like going into IVisit
and making some kind of performance, going into a public space and taking off
your clothes or whatever you do, that is a kind of performance.
but in KeyStroke that won't be interesting. Because that's like, I'm phoning
you up and start sending you dirty words. It's like very much this two way thing.
think there is this inexperience with making appointments for these online collaborations.
Per: I disagree.
I've been doing that for five years. Really trying to set up, and sometimes
it works. Like last time we did a Zagreb/Oslo combination and both spaces worked
locally. But making things publicly on the internet, it's not really public,
it's in a back alley.
I don't think that is a necessary feature. For example, I didn't know about
this Zagreb/Oslo thing. But if I would have known and it was one a Friday night
I would have watched.
you are a friend, so you would have watched because you know me.
now that. It's how reliable is the information before the event. If you get
news of a performance from a friend you would rely on that, or maybe a mailing
list that I would rely on.
but the artistic use of the internet is still a very small percentage. But if
you want to do something on the net with a wider audience then you have to use
these public spaces like IVisit. Then you can do it. Use that situation for
a base for doing performance work. Which is what (can't pick up the name of
the artist) did in Bergen. Because otherwise it is just one or two artists communicating
with each other and especially with software, it's a completely different situation.
those of you that don't know (artist's name) what she did was go into a public
room, IVisit space, and kind of tease all the men sitting there with big dicks
and masturbating. She said I'll show you my tits if you masturbate. So she was
surrounded by 6 to 8 men who were showing their dicks and wanking.
is a characteristic of the IVisit and any of those reflector sites. CuSeeme
was the same way. If you travel in that space as if it is public they tend to
be dominated by men who are there for their own reasons. I think one of the
difficulties is trying to make an internet performance resonate more in terms
of its impact. When you make a performance in a theatre you go in with all the
knowledge and conventions of theatre that people already implicitly understand.
So you are able to work with those codes. When you go into an installation space
you are already working with a fairly rich set of codes. If you go outside to
a site-specific performance, when we went out and did the Jornada in the Bar,
we are already familiar with those codes. I think the internet space, people
have tended to use metaphors, the virtual performance space. But we haven't
developed enough of the rich codes and in fact going in those rooms and hacking
into that code, there is something going on there, whether some people might
call it deviant or not. So that seems like quite an interesting piece of work
with the social codes that are emerging on the net, because the net is a free
space for sex. They are there, they can't be seen, they can't be traced (well
they can be now), but it poses an interesting kind of work. Possibly the net
is too thin now. I'm wondering if that is why you tend to push them out into
real spaces when you want to emphasize the things that are happening (Zagreb/Oslo).
think this maybe because there is no timetable for the internet. If you do a
theatre show then you know it is in a town, at night, there is people that will
go to every show. On the internet there is no such thing and I think that this
is mainly the reason that there are not so many viewers. Why there is not so
much interaction yet. Just the "how do you know what is on when?".
Per: I think
it is that the internet has up to this point been a representational space.
Like we discussed at the conference. Representational space vs communication
space. And the internet is trying to represent another performance space which
isn't really there.
if you look at chat or newsgroups. I go to a certain newsgroup once I discovered
and I know "hey" this is where it is happening.
that is not a performance.
it's about the communication.
has to be dozens and dozens of interesting internet project that we are not
mentioning. There are actually a fair number that is rich with communication
possibilities. There are people that have worked in chat spaces before and done
interesting works. I'm not intimately familiar with a lot of those. I tend to
be more familiar with the work that has a live space (then you say something
that i don't really pick up)
Per: I think
that the works on the internet now, even people doing the so-called old school
performances they're representing the chat of the internet. They are not actually
going in there live, because they don't dare to. It's too unstable, and people
don't use that instability for artistic purposes. Instead they try to save what
might have been some interesting situations in the chat rooms or some other
events and then they recreate it in a very safe way. Maybe even record it onto
a video file or then play it back where they know that they have a script, this
is how the chat goes, and then they perform it. And it's all smooth.
but that will change.
not sure because I don't think that people dare to use that instability that
is there now. I think that this is the major reason why things go wrong with
this internet performance. This is the reason why we all stick our finger in
our mouth when we hear the word "internet performance". We all know
what a default internet performance is and we don't like it. At least I don't
because it is such a fake thing. Some thing some new media wankers do to get
attention and publicity and they manage. And you see the critics in the papers?
They are uneducated, there is no critical language connected to this medium
yet. This is a big flaw.
think that this is the biggest problem. There is no critical understanding of
what is happening. It's all very new and everybody just embraces whatever is
out there. Because there are different strategies. Very many artists use that
kind of language that you are talking about. But there are some that work with
the more conceptual framework of networking. And I think Netochka is the best
It is getting away from being necessarily live as well. the time lag on the
internet is just very interesting because it allows you to view the thing in
your time. I can read the Lev list once a week or I can read it everyday, if
I want to get these artistic expressions from Netochka. And I don't like this
separation of the time of making and the time of viewing.
interesting what you said about there being no time table on the internet. Some
of the presentations that we saw at the conference were about different methods
for creating agents, because the internet is so large, that use machine processes
for sending your personal profile around and then sending back information,
metatagged information. And I don't really know where any of that is going.
It's hard to tell, and I'm sometimes seduced by that idea because I'm seduced
by machine processes. I would be interested to skip the information back from
some clever machine process that somebody had developed for me. But I have yet
to stumble across anything that I have felt to be particularly interesting.
Everytime it gets to the bottom you feel like categories and the ways they are
trying to essentialize your person or your profile are a bit distressing and
the early days of the interent when we were kind of surfing and the thought
of surfing was the biggest thing about it. You arrive in a shoemaking store
in New Zealand and you go "Oh is this how they make wooden shoes, that
was really interesting." And it gets harder and harder to get off the highways.
It's like the roads these days. If you miss your turn you are just stuck on
this highway for hours or you can be. And the little detours. We should really
take care of those back alleys. It's important to remember the alternative space
has grown exponentially as well even if it is more difficult getting there.
The landscape there is vast, it's huge and it is growing. So we shouldn't give
up that internet space because it's not actually only Coca Cola and MTV and
Apple and Microsoft.
think that for the first time in the Internet you can make your own roads very
easily. Any kid in India can make an index of art centres for free.
actually that is a notion that I'm critical of because to say the whole world.
The Internet is still a relatively small population.
but, relatively to any other medium. It's so much more global and so much more
equal. Must more than radio or something.
a political discussion ... It's much more expensive to buy a computer than to
set up a pirate radio station like this one in India.
you don't have to buy it. That's the whole thing. You can go in there, into
an Internet cafe for one hour every week for half a dollar and make your website.
half a dollar is what you earn per week then you don't do that, you buy food.
relatively to any other means of expression.
you might be right.
anyway, most people don't do that. They just stick to the default. And then
it depends on which browser is preinstalled on your machine.
all people are not artists.
are a lot of sides to this story, but there are two things that make me curious
and intrigued. One is all the popular places along the classical tourist's paths
that the 20 year olds, kids in Universities in England they get a year out and
they travel along mostly the Indonesian pathway, Thailand and all of those.
And they have put in all the internet sites that they use to get back home,
so it is used by a hugely growing tourist industry. So the internet is used
as a service there in that context so it is easy enough for them to get a hold
of as you say. The other is a possibility of something that I have read on occasion.
Some place out on Africa didn't even have telephones and they dropped a radio
dish in to give them internet and I was thinking what does that do to a culture
to skip tv and skip telephone.
I have the impression that kids today think internet, that's for the 35 year
olds. Because it is a static thing that is actually now connected to sitting
in front of the fucking computer in a boring office with a mouse and a keyboard.
This is interesting what we are doing now, in Europe and in Asia, I mean sms
and this mobile communication. I'm dead sure in five years this is what the
internet is about
same feeling was expressed yesterday as well. But this workshop as an extension
of the Athens workshop. It's such a pleasure to be finally beginning to think
concretely about wireless and wearable or non-screen based, to be playing with
physically the space in which you sit.
the gameboy culture, it's the sms culture, it's the same. They'll all have big
thumbs. You'll see a whole new species.Becoming
like claws again.
I agree that it's a bit much to think that voice recognition and other kinds
of systems are going to come in and at least disseminate in a kind of mass media
context. It is going to be these small screens. I tend to think of them much
more as pages. You can move them around, they are light, you can wear them,
you can carry them around, you hardly notice their presence until you pull them
wearable computing is a kind of negroponte kind of thing and I'm not really
sure it will catch on. Mobile phone, cell phone is wearable and you can have
it on your watch, I don't know where it will be in five years. But it won't
be in your underwear and in your shoes.
it is just business decisions that we don't have it already. A mobile phone
is essentially a computer, it should be all there. It should be a net connected
device that you have everything on. But they don't want to do it like that.
are all waiting for the right moment to converge on those things.
Per: Yes, because the companies have already merged. There the thing with navigation, when we are talking about screens. For navigation for air pilots, they are now starting to work with sound. Apparently its easier (with sound) for a human being to orient themselves in a 3D space with sounds than with visuals because eyes seem to get really distracted in all directions but with sound and closed eyes you can really feel where you are. Apparently that is how they use it now for fighter pilots to navigate or to go in.
[sept 2001, BANFF, Canada]