OPERA TOTALE 6
Published in Umělec Magazine 1/2001 / cz en
The program for Opera Totale, a one-day workshop in Mestre near Venice, Italy, consisted of a somewhat asynchronous sequence of presentations: a choreographed variation of some music by Bela Bartok, an interactive installation dealing with the world of children, an automatic Internet DJ, some Italian hackers, a solid project by the MIT Media Lab, and appearances by a Canadian dancer and a sleepy English rock star.
One of the participants was the enigmatic group 01001011101011-01.ORG, first heard of in the Internet world when the character Darko Maver, a Serbian artist, began to pop up. His name appeared on several mailing lists, and in various exhibitions, until it was discovered at the last Biennale that Maver was a fictitious character they had brought into being. 0100101110101101.ORG’s next stunt was to register under the domain name www.vaticano.org, despite protests from the Vatican. The latest 0100101110101101.ORG project, Sharing_Life, is a parody of Sharing_Files. It enables viewers to move virtually, without limitation or alteration, within the 0100101110101101.ORG computer. They claim that it’s like visiting somebody’s studio without disturbing the artist.
At one point, these enfants terribles of net art attacked the server Hell.com, which was trying to shift interest in Internet art into the commercial realm. The people behind Hell.com wanted to exhibit net art while deciding who would or wouldn’t be granted the password necessary to browse the pages. Because 0100101110101101.ORG seek to promote the accessibility and openness that the Internet is based on, they thought it necessary to protest the existence of Hell.com by copying all of its files onto their server.
Perhaps in a spirit of mischief, but more likely with a knowing nod to the mild irony of the situation, Opera Totale also invited two of the founders of Hell.com, Aurie Harvey and Michael Samyn, to the workshop to talk about their project www.entropy8zuper.org. Their commitment to commercialism remains undimmed: While I understand that net artists have every right to cash in on their work (like anyone working in other media), the $8.50 fee for seeing skinonskinonskin seemed downright cheeky.
Deepdisc presented Earshot, which automatically or interactively searched for and mixed audio files from the Internet. This was basically an “underground” project in concept, and the music — a performance by Golan Levin and Scott Gibbons — was the result of professional research by the MIT Media Lab. Five modes made up the background of their Scribble, the product of abstract musical instruments that responded to mouse movements through a preset sequence of visualization and sound. The rest of the performance was improvised. Dancers Isabelle Choinier and Alyson Vishnovski also improvised their telematic performance. Each was hooked up to one end of an ISDN connection and made sounds through body movements, sending them into the other’s space.
All projects presented at Opera Totale 6 were created through the cooperation of several people and no one was defined as an “artist,” “curator” or “programmer.” In new media art, these roles do tend to shift. An artist who dictates requirements to a “programmer” is in fact working as a curator. “Programmers” necessarily contribute their understanding (reading) to the work, thereby exceeding their technical function, and the role of the “curator” is becoming ever more creative while losing the advantage of its former distance.
0100101110101101.ORG is a mysterious group of people who usually perform anonymously, and seeing them in person was a unique experience. However I couldn’t help suspecting that, like Darko Maver, these people might be nothing more than somebody else’s construct.