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I EXHIBITIONSI I I PRISONERSOF SOFIUTARE: AN ARTaCIENCE TECHNOLOGYREVIEW Reviewed b~Mit Mitropmdos, 11Elpidos St., A t h 10434,Greece. The British Broadcasting Company/RTBF ’92program “La MachineiRever” (4-9 October 1992) recentlyreminded me that we live in an analogworld. Part of that world we can translateinto binary bits of 0/1, black/white, yes/no, which are great for memory,storage,retrieval and process ing. But the rest of our world remains analog.Everybody’sdaily lie contains ambiguity,for instance,as in these examples: ‘Willyou sleepwith me, Thais?” ‘Maybe.” ‘WillI seeyou again tomorrow, Mit?” “No!”(Butaren’t his eyes sayingYes?) However we try (and often succeed) in science to measure quantities not considered measurablebefore,we still confront ambiguityin complexinteraction , even when it is technology-mediated . Art also has this ambiguity. The Ixelles-Brusselsmuseum exhibition ‘The Binary Era: New Interaction” is a welcome effortat illustratingthe connectionbetween art, science and technology.But immediatelyIngo Gunther, one of the participatingartists, defies the first half of the title by literally flying the analogflag. His exhibit is one of the 12shown by 13artistsoriginating from nine countries, several of whom concentrate their activities in Germany and the United States. I am also rather unhappywith the other half of the title,which unwittinglydoes touch on currentartsciencetechnology debate:Will the fielddevelopas an interactiverelationship or will artistssimply borrow conceptsand tools from science and/or technology? Specifically,in this exhibit,what doesscienceor technology gain fromanyof the 12works displayed? Is there any experimentalsituationcreated or suggested for observation and measurement ?What working circumstances would affordsuch a fruitfulinteractionto take place?What type of proposal is expectedfrom the artist? What collaboration from the scientist or the engineeris required?What sponsorshipis necessary? Exhibition organiser CharlesHirsch, a scientistI believe, offersus the opportunity to ask these questions,although we don’t get any help in seeking answers.The fact that someof the works do have consciouspretensions of being works of art is also distracting.Why should the fact that these 12workswere especially created for this show have interestedviewers?On the contrary,one suspectedthat this condition may have influenced the invited artists-and then made it harder for the organiser to concentrate on his initialconcept,and for us to enjoy and learn from it. Not havingdisputed that theseworks are works of art, I sought to understand the new aesthetics they put forward. Again, no help was forthcoming. However, it was excitingto have these artists (and the museum hostingthem) focuson our contemporaryworld our perceptions,our dreams, our fears. Thisstood in disappointingcontrastto the presentationof urban designersand regional plannersin the Fondationspour I’Architecture’s“ConstruireleVisage de Bruxellesles actionsde 1’Fxecutifde la Region de BruxellesCapitale.”This otherwisevery useful accounthad no individualvisionsby which to seduceus, nor anyimpact simulationsfor our neuroses to i d e n q with. What ismore, telecommunicationswere entirelymissing-as if the telephone hadn’tyet been invented, asifourpersonal listsof phone numbers aren’tour current electronicneighbourhoods .Although it is unfair to limit dis cussion of telecommunicationsto the telephone alone,where would the organisation of spacein Brusselsbe tomorrow morning if all itsphone wires were pulled off and away by King Kong tonight?And if this Hollywood beastie doesnot pay Brusselsa visit tonight,what about the impacton the Bruxellois of all the cableand wireless systems,including uplinksand downlinks in the sky? Thisnetworking dimensionwas lacking in the Ixellesexhibition,too-an omission,since NamJune Paik is purely broadcasting (no,narrowcasting),and simplydisappointing.Dumb Type was broadcasting,too, but I enjoyed the questionshe threw at his audience. BothJeffrey Shaw and the team of Rombouts-Droste(R-D) gave us manmachine interactions. Shawshowed his usual impeccable stylein his responsesystem (nottwo-way interactive,but more like an automatic softdrink machinewith only two choices left).The R-D team is more appealingfor theirsculpturalingenuitythan for the access they permit us. Both of these works manage to be seriousand funnyat the same time. Matt Mullican’swork is the resultof man-machineinteraction and, however splendid,it regrettably doesn’tofferaccess (likethe work of R-D, this work invites networking).Similarly, GaryH i l land RodneyGrahamcould have provideduswith somecontrolover their choiceofworksto present here. Even i fone choseto dismissall the above as non-art, one would surelyhave made an exemptionforTony Cragg‘s sensualform. But if it qualifiesasart-scitech (whichI don’tthink it does),a delinition is...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
p. 268
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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