Netd@ys 2000 - LAb[au]

Netd@ys 2000
20.11. - 27.11.2000
Recyclart, Brussels

featuring LAb[au] projects/concept:
hyperte(x)tural environments

Intervention LAb[au] in the 'module -netarc' following an inviation by Michel Vienne

3 interviews about:
- hypertext and the city
- cartography and territory

curational statements:

Position1: Philippe Franck
Art of transitory

" On ne se déterritorialise jamais tout seul... " G. Deleuze/F. Guattari This sentence about 'the impossibility of deterritorialising oneself alone", was chosen ad random (although there is no ad random !) from Mille Plateaux, the visionary work of the philosopher of "the wild grass" and of the anti-oedipal psychoanalyst. The phrase returns tickling our parasited brain, as if to accompany it through to the last line - which is never straight - of a project of multiple ramifications. A hosting platform, a meeting point, a "temporary autonomous zone" in which flow we permanently dream, an honest zone of co-production, full of risks and pleasures for the young and less young nomad artists


of the cyberworld (which is neither "the politics of the worst", of the "cybercassandria's", nor this "collective intelligence" still so virtual). How can we investigate the realm of the new technologies as tools of an exchange culture that "mediates" or better still, "immediates" data without falling into phantasmagoria, chaos (an essential data) or dictatorship of compulsory interactivity ? There is a lot of art on the Net but still not enough networking in art. Nevertheless, we are almost in a natural manner tempted to believe in it : to break away from the assigned schemes in order to be able to develop this relational art with multiple recipients that today's technologies not only make possible, but even arouse nearly automatically by their hypercommunicational essence. Virtual versus real ? Again the artists demonstrate with their research that these obsolete and dichotomous questionings are in vain. The dancers show us that one can remarkably incarnate movement, passage, the transitory - a modern concept by excellence - without necessarily setting it. If they come up against the new media without fearing to lose their physicality, it is maybe because they feel that this interface reinforces the lightness of the body and its short-lived presence. Likewise if our backs are slowly curving, our eyes are getting tired, and our fast typing fingers are running over the computer's keyboard, the body's representatives keep haunting the net, which is no more than the reflection of our own contradictions and desires. The electronic musicians remix sounds endlessly (their own or those of their colleagues) or literally install them in space, triggering them at the slightest gesture, and composing therefore invisible sculptures of sound. Once again the manipulation of the data and the interface is more important than the final form of the piece. The possibilities offered by the " information highways " are rising to the horizon. Here, the cultural world could be an alternative, a counterbalance to the purely economical logic. With energy, ingenuousness, clumsiness and the passion of pioneers of an ever growing cyberculture (soon it will simply be actual culture), we are leaning towards new cross-points. It is not enough to communicate, we must equally transmit contents, present them (make them presentable), conciliate the intelligible and the sensitive. The artist Fred Foster tells us in Pour un art actuel (for a current art) that we should " apprehend the virtual, not as an illusion but as an active principle likely to reveal itself as a writing, conceptualising, active and social tool ". In order to transpose this plural perspective and the stimulating processes of re-appropriation and


transformation, we also need, in the first place, to set up a great operation of public awareness (the Netd@ys Europe initiative is a fundamental agent to this effect), on all levels of the cultural and educational chain in order to improve the quality of our fruitful " inter-actions ".

Philippe Franck, Transcultures/Netd@ys Brussels

Position2: Michel Vienne

Transarchitectures places of communication " Pour donner du relief, de l'épaisseur optique à la mondialisation, il faut non seulement se brancher sur les réseaux cybernétiques, mais surtout dédoubler la réalité du monde. A l'instar de la stéréophonie et de la stéréoscopie qui distinguent la gauche de la droite pour faciliter la perception du relief audio et visuel, il faut à tout prix réaliser la rupture de la réalité première en élaborant une stéréo-réalité composée, d'une part, de la réalité actuelle des apparences immédiates et, d'autre part, de la réalité virtuelle des trans-apparences médiatiques. " Paul Virilio 1997 Paul Virilio talks about "stereo-reality" and describes clearly this double space in which the modern man learns to navigate. Between the real and the virtual space, the universe is very complex. But is there an architect in this new world? Pioneers, inventors of a developing discipline, architects consider the stereo-reality like a fact of the society and consequently of architecture, involving the computer and its ramifications in the net as an "active partner", and develop a new relation to space and time. The meeting places of the others are the places to socialize above all, the agora, the forums, the cafes and places of passage are the traditional places of the urban socialisation. In order that the meeting place becomes a symbolic place and a place for thoughts, it requires a meeting between partners Numerous recent texts written by architects on the architectural and virtual concept provide an open door and an essential question on the nature of these new spaces and on the thinking, the commitment and the role that they will have to play in the future. Some envisage the use of the machines and the softwares in a different way to discover new spaces to build or not. These can be a dream, a thought or a narration of the project.


The improvements of the virtual image a new favourable impact to the story and the technique is always more sophisticated, but it is basically the same: to think a project to which the society can relate. After the analysis of some of the mutations of the city, it can be interesting to highlight certain characteristics of the virtual world, that William Mitchell partly reveals in Soft Cities. The word "virtual urbanity" exists to define a social space which would correspond to the technology world, a social space that has been dematerialised. "The town planning is no more a alignment of roads but a group of networks, knots and intersections. The town planning is a relational work, the telephone deserves as much attention as it is given to the sidewalk". To many different levels, the two universes intersect, the cyberspace is an area close to the frontier, inhabited by a few technologies that can cope with the austerity of the wild computer interfaces, the incompatible protocols of communications, the boundaries of property, legal and cultural ambiguities. Twenty years ago, the exhibition "Le temps des gares" (the time of the stations) shown at the Pompidou Centre, played with the idea that the technologies are like new towers of Babel. This approach is still meaningful today for these stations which tend to become intermodal spaces, open to different activities and to a stronger urban role. We live now in several spaces which intermingle without the capacity to overlap in the same way. Several times coexist and each space has its own time.

Michel Vienne, Architecture et Prospective/Netd@ys Brussels

Position3: Louis Beck

Art as a lead If we consider that the binomial "Art/Technique" has always be a deter-minant incentive for the evolution of civilisations, playing an essential role of cognition and expression, it is impossible to ignore the current trans-forming strength of technologies. How can we doubt that the explosion of the communication mode through network and satellites is preparing the future cultural stakes? How can we not guess that the attempt of redefinition of the living, through his biological and transgenical specificity's and through his be-havioural pressures, his sensorial cognitive and imaginary oversize-


ments, alters in an irremediable way the essence of the artistic creation and with it the biggest part of its symbolic markings? When the organisation modes of societies, the ways of managing the space, the biosphere and the energies are modified by the digital impact and when the urban environments are being deeply remodelled, how can we not be aware that it is therefore all the representation systems, all the models and the cultural foundations, at the origins of all the "collective fantasmatic ", that are being requisitioned and transmuted? How can we not notice, when the immediate and global dissemination of technologies hits simultaneously all cultures of the world that we are confronted to a phenomenon of major importance? And that therefore the crucial questions on plurality, freedom of expres-sion, identity, difference and standardisation force themselves upon us. That is why the artistic experiences linked to technologies have a funda-mental role. They are at the heart of the activities producing our reality, they must "work" and sound the mutations that are modifying our societies through the expression and communication fields. They have to introduce the in-dispensable "implosions" of imagination and create the dimensions of a new constructive and critic space. They must generate the conditions of an inventive adjustment towards the transformations on hand as a method build up by the living to preserve his physical and imaginary vi-ability exploring the artificial environment shaped by him. They have to build new spaces of exchanges, points of dialog, places of transforma-tion of the codes and of translation of languages and behaviours, giving rise to hybrid interactive "objects", crossing the various disciplines and cultures. Their role is to participate to the partition breaking of the social barriers, as well as to prepare new reading grids without which this world would stay for many meaningless, hopeless and with no other future than ex-clusion. At the end the artistic experiences are confronted to a double game induced by the technological tools, in between fascination and re-jection. That is why they must raise alert, alive and plural, against forms of ob-scurantist and fanatic resistance and towards technocratic pressures. They are in a youth and a meaning trial and the quest of meaning is al-ways deeply political.

Louis Bec, AVIGNONumérique-Les Mutalogues/Netd@ys Brussels

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