Art Press - - PORTRAIT -

As a co-foun­der of one of the ve­ry first on­line art dis­tri­bu­tion plat­forms, ada web, how do you see to­day’s post­in­ter­net turn? The ada web pro­ject was concei­ved as a plat­form for the pro­duc­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion of art. The idea was to en­cou­rage es­ta­bli­shed ar­tists whose work was concep­tual­ly In­ter­net-friend­ly to work on­line, along with youn­ger ar­tists. At the time when we laun­ched ada web, in 1995, there we­ren’t ma­ny web sites in exis­tence anyw­here. In using new me­dia as both a means of dis­tri­bu­tion and a plat­form for thin­king we were ahead of our time. The Web was sub­se­quent­ly colonized by bu­si­ness and no lon­ger has any ar­tis­tic iden­ti­ty. Ar- How do you feel about the clo­sing of the new me­dia de­part­ment at the Ins­ti­tute of Contem­po­ra­ry Art in Lon­don, which you once di­rec­ted? My pre­de­ces­sor, Shol­to Ram­say, iden­ti­fied a need. That’s why he foun­ded the ICA new me­dia de­part­ment. The ins­ti­tute had set up a pro­duc­tion stu­dio in part­ner­ship with Sun Mi­cro­sys­tems, a lea­ding force in bu­si­ness com­pu­ting at that time. The idea was that Sun’s hard­ware and soft­ware en­gi­neers could help ar­tists car­ry out am­bi­tious pro­jects. The en­gi­neers saw it as a re­search and de­ve­lop­ment lab, and ar­tists saw it as an op­por­tu­ni­ty to ac­cess tech­no­lo­gy that wasn’t usual­ly avai­lable to them in those days. So the de­part­ment cor­res­pon­ded to a spe­ci­fic need at a spe­ci­fic mo­ment. To­day eve­ryone has their own com­pu­ter. You were the ar­tis­tic di­rec­tor at Villette Nu­mé­rique, which fea­tu­red to­tal­ly di­gi­tal pro­jects along with work that was hard­ly di­gi­tal at all. I’ve al­ways been in­ter­es­ted in art, not tech­no­lo­gy. Tech­no­lo­gy in­ter­ests me on­ly in­so­far as ar­tists use it to make work that al­lows a spe­ci­fic take on the world we live in. It’s no dif­ferent than pen­cils,

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