Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Printmaking and the network

When artists Garrett Lynch and Frédérique Santune came over from Canterbury earlier in the month to visit, they trawled the local galleries, and Garrett later, impishly, remarked to me that the Ikon exhibition of prints wasn't of interest to him because it wasn't networked. I finally managed to see the exhibition myself today, a collection of Max Klinger prints from Liepzig, and I'm awed by their beauty and resonance. The catalogue (which I, uncharacteristically, bought) really struggles to do them justice, and I'll be seeking out a better collection of reproductions. The original prints have an incredible clarity of line with which Klinger could render light scenes of dropped gloves and ice skating, breath-takingly dark symbolic or surrealistic dream imagery, and melodramatic tableaux of life, love and death. Christiane Baumgartner's video-derived woodcut prints which accompany the Klinger work at Ikon are themselves deserving of attention. In fact it's these prints which for me connect Klinger (and the painstaking technology of print-making) to the work of people like Lynch and Santune. Baumgartner works like an organic fax machine, literally transcribing images from electronic media by hand, in the process simultaneously making them about speed and freezing them in time, wood, and ink. The printing process both prefigures the world of the network and establishes many of its metrics (accuracy, reproducibility, speed). While for Klinger drawing seems to have been a means of locating the dreamlike and super-real, Baumgartner embraces the instantaneity of the photograph then teases out its means of establishing and propagating image. This doesn't seem so far removed from what artists like Lynch are doing with the technologies of the network.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Cybercultures Audio

I finally got around to one of the Prague trip things I needed to follow up: I'd recorded the Cybercultures session which I chaired on the closing day, and I promised Nicole Anderson that, assuming the audio was listenable, I'd post her fantastic presentation. It was, and I did. You can pick it up in the Radio Usergland podcast.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Who do you want to be today?

While there are still lots of loose ends to tie up from the Cybercultures conference ('thank you' notes to write, promises to keep, abstracts to devise, and somewhere along the way a paper to wrap up) I've still managed to be diverted by David Osbaldestin's Business As Usual project over the last 24 hours, and I've just put the finishing touches to an article about it for Fused magazine. Amusingly, it won't be published under my own name, as I'm sort of ghost writing it for one of David's alter-egos. While I wouldn't say it's especially different from the sort of thing I'd post here it felt rather liberating in a strange way to (a) write about art without feeling like I was on shaky ground, and (b) to know that few people who read it will know it's me writing. I also got to quote myself in the article, and to dub myself a "self-styled network futurist", which I enjoyed. I'll link to the article here when it's published somewhere, or maybe I'll post it myself, under yet another name.

Sunday, August 14, 2005


Well the Cybercultures 2005 conference is over and, nerves aside, my presentation seems to have gone down quite well. In truth it was a bit of an oddity; only one other presentation (an excellent paper on AI by Ursurla Drees of Berlin Technical University) was speculative and future-oriented. For the most part I felt like a sci-fi author at the Booker Prize. A good bunch of people though; 28 delegates from 14 countries. There's an invite to Melbourne for a Virtual Worlds conference too, which I need to move on as soon as I return. Today though I'm relaxing. After I check email and such on the free wifi here in Cafe-Cafe we're off to do the tourist thing at the Castle, and hopefully a puppet show this evening. Prague itself seems like a virtual world; a strange mix of fairytale and nightmare, all grafitti and golems, beer-for-breakfast cafes and footballers' wives fashion. I'll almost certainly come again (especially if I'm co-opted onto the Cybercultures Steering Group), though I'm not sure I could live here.