- Art Inquiry: Recherches sur les Arts
The "Cyberarts, Cybercultures, Cyberso-cieties" issue of Art Inquiry is valuable for giving voice to artist-academics in Poland, binding their reports and theories alongside those of similar minds in the United Kingdom, Japan and elsewhere. The reader learns of work done in Cracow, Lodz and Poznan; analyses of software art effects on seeing and perception; VR and cinema; and interactive installations. Machiko Kusahara provides a useful overview of Japanese visual entertainments from the earliest Nintendo games to diversions available on the NTT mobile phone. Sean Cubitt is optimistic about "media democracy," while Geoff Cox and Jessica Krysa cite Walter Benjamin to situate the work of recent critical techno-art collectives within older and broader currents of cultural history.
"Cyberarts, Cybercultures, Cybersoci-eties" is bookended with essays by Roy Ascott and Eduardo Kac. Ascott writes about our post-biological age and what that implies for the arts. Ascott is a grand old man in the field that Stephen Wilson called "Information Arts," having articulated decades ago telematics theory that still informs digital work today. As a visionary educator as well as an artist-theorist, Ascott has designed and assembled the doctoral program at University of Plymouth (U.K.), attracting a significant group of faculty and fellows that endeavor to establish an Internet-enabled "Planetary Col-legium" linking sibling institutions. Kac's work demonstrates how biology can be manipulated for benign aesthetic purposes, among many others. Kac has explored biological processes (in a Freudian slip, this reviewer almost typed "prophecies") to degrade a scriptural text on the relation between human and animal realms, and to create a cleverly gene-spliced phosphorescent rabbit that glows an eerie green.
It is good to see such a collection of essays published in Eastern Europe as its nations integrate into the European Union. May this rich issue of Art Inquiry fertilize and inspire further creative inquiries, there and everywhere.