:: Saturday, January 03, 2004 ::

Agora Phobia (digitalis) is both a physical intsallation and online project by Dutch artist, Karen Lancel.

The installation part of this project takes place in an inflatable, semi-transparent ISOLATION PILLAR, placed strategically in crowded city squares, parks, etc. People are invite to step inside, one at a time, and simultaneously experience feelings of safety, softness, and isolation, yet also vulnerability.

Inside the pillar is where the online component takes place.Visitors inside the pillar may have internet-dialogues with people living in isolation: a prisoner, a nun, a hermit, an agoraphobic, a refugee, etc. The chatting takes place on a secure website, where the participants will not be disturbed by others. I found the dialogues between participants to be quite interesting because both participants are isolated, yet both know that their words are being viewed and displayed to hoards of people they cannot see. It's kind of an Exhibitionism for shy people, or at least very similar to the kinds of annonimity that can be acheived via the web, emails, and blogs. Hey, I'm doing it right now, aren't I?

There are many chats to choose from, including those from past venues such as the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Berlin Artfair.
People may visit this web archive at any time and participate in the Monologues section of the site.Your monologue will be published within a week in the archive. Parts of it will appear in a book and performances of TraumaTour.

The physical aspect of this project was most recently shown at Eyebeam in Chelsea in New York in Septemeber, 2003 and will next be shown in Paris at Biennale Villette Numérique Parc de la Villette in 2004.
:: Kristen Palana [+] ::
:: Friday, January 02, 2004 ::
First, I want to wish all readers and contributors a very happy new year! Now it is time for my first 2004 review.

Government intelligence has been a public interest for a long time. A particular aspect that has become fictionalized via James Bond movies and other spin-offs are special gadgets that seem normal at first glance but turn out to be some sort of special weapon. This fascination has found a new form of presentation as an online project in The Central Intelligence Museum by Danny Goodwin.

Goodwin created webpages featuring various gadgets that could have been used by the U.S. Government in special spy missions. Some of the pieces include descriptions and photos of a camera hidden behind an electric outlet, cigarrete explosives hidden in a regular cigarrette pack used to create bigger explosions, a gun hidden inside a brief case ready to shoot, and eyeglasses containing escape devices among several others.

I was fascinated to read about each gadget, thinking how real these may be. Unfortunately the web project does fall short in terms of presenting a coherent voice. The Central Intelligence Museum rides on a hesitant position aware that parodying may not be well taken during times of high security, which is quite obvious from the introductory page offering the disclaimer, "THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT SITE!!" in big red letters. Also the project does not make the most of appropriation, the viewer knows almost immediately that the pages are all fabricated by the artist; Goodwin also makes this clear in the introductory page as well.

In short, the project, while it could follow the tradition of Randall Packer's online project U.S. Department of Art and Technology or the more established internationally known Museum of Jurassic Technology where the viewer is not quite sure if the material is real or not, ends up presenting great potential with limited formal expression. The two latter projects are strong because these ask the viewer to question their belief of what is "real" -- "am I looking at something that is really part of history and my contemporary reality?" leading to a skeptical position. Such skepticism, unfortunately, is not part of The Central Intelligence Museum. Nevertheless, the project is worth an online visit.
:: Eduardo Navas [+] ::
Trace the online writing centre working out of Nottingham Trent University in England have set up a new media article writing competition which may be of interest to net art review writers as well as readers. It aims to "provoke discussion and raise awareness of new media writing" and offers four cash prizes for writings which will be used in their categories of review, opinion, process and editors choice.

:: Garrett Lynch [+] ::
:: Wednesday, December 31, 2003 ::
"There are intangible realities which float near us, formless and without words; realities which no one has thought out, and which are excluded for lack of interpreters." Natalie Clifford Barney

To all Net Art Review contributors and readers,

Let us search copiously for such unspoken realities as we continue to seek opportunities to use our voices. May peace, creativity, and hope lead us all into a new year.

:: [+] ::
Shilpa Gupta's blessed-bandwidth.net invites visitors to choose a religion and get blessed. The artist went to the several places of worship with an internet network cable which she asked to have blessed by the priest or authority. The blessings are to bring peace and happiness to anyone who comes in contact with a specific bandwidth generated via the cable.

The worship sites representing a range of faiths include: Buddhist Worli Temple; Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Guruj; Saint Michael's Church; Sri Dashmesh Darbar; Mausoleum of Saint Hajiali; and Lord Ganesh of Siddhivinayak Temple. Once you have selected your faith, users are offered the chance to receive their own blessings online. All one has to do is follow the basic given instructions:

Sit Straight. Don’t Lean.
Bend Slowly Forward. Concentrate
Now touch your forehead to the computer screen on the Spot X

Users are then invited to print a certificate of blessing to mark the occasion.

Visitors can also view photographs and video of the artist visiting each worship site with a network cable. However, if you are a Mac user, you will be consoled with a prophetic Java script, such as: "Do not go where you have no business. Do not enter with Arrogance."

There are additional take-aways for viewers in the downloads section, and library that invites users to upload their own sacred images of personal gods. Although playful and often tongue-in-cheek, the stated purpose of blessed-bandwidth.net is to act, “as a space for visitors to reflect on religion and its role in a world that is often divided by faith. The site juxtaposes real and virtual worlds and encourages visitors to consider how these worlds might overlap and merge.”

This net art project was commissioned by the Tate and is optimized for a PC, windows 95 (or later) platform and MS IE browser.
:: [+] ::
:: Tuesday, December 30, 2003 ::
Here is a brief post reminding people of Oculart.com, one of my favorite websites. There are four new pieces since I last visited this site.

Consistent in content delivery, this is one of the few websites that I find relying on simple animations with the well established language of still media such as painting, which means that each segment must hold up to close formal examination. Great resource for artists and designers alike, not to mention the art enthusiast.
:: Eduardo Navas [+] ::
:: Sunday, December 28, 2003 ::
Here are the latest additions to the New Media Fix:

#artnodes is an online resource offering reviews on new media.

Creative Commons following the online tradition of open source "is devoted to expanding the range of creative work available for others to build upon and share." Creative Commons is also our recommended fix for this week.

:: Eduardo Navas [+] ::
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