::NET.TEN:: \\Online Selections// August 05
Summer Siteseeing in .ch

by Annina Rüst

On this website-seeing trip I will take you to Switzerland (.ch). Of course, you might ask: why concentrate on a small geographic region if you have the world wild web at your keyboard-tapping fingertips? For one thing, I did not want to do a "Top 10" list because I don't have one. What I want to provide is a small insight into a rather productive media art eco-system: most of the projects featured here were created by people who are based in and around Zürich, know each other, etc. Also, most of the projects have just been released in the last few months. Due to the mostly non-English content of the sites, they might not be located along your usual web surfing itinerary. Consequently, you will have some tasty pages to feed to your favorite online translation tool.

Rolywholyover (by Roly Roos) is an in instrument for sound production. It does not produce any sound itself but plays back acoustic events that it records from the environment. The store and playback pattern is set by the composer in none other than Microsoft Excel and then uploaded onto a microcontroller. The microcontroller then coordinates vital parts of various mildly musical instruments like cheap Dictaphones to create a rhythmic base that is modified by the acoustic properties of the environment.
Rolywholyover is a device, which can be performed in conjunction with other instruments as well as just listened to. The device is designed to be small enough so it can easily be transported and set up in various acoustic environments.

Musicians oftentimes regard their stompboxes, pedals and effects devices as mere tools in sound production and are therefore often apologetic about their interest in technology. Rolywholyover is a device where the software and hardware engineering process forms a conscious part of the final product just like the sound that is produced with it.
As the time of this writing, the site www.rolywholyover.ch.vu is undergoing renovation. When completed, a construction kit for Rolywholyover as well as instructions will be available from the site.

About 467’638’961 Answers
About 467’638’961 Answers by Mascha Leummens is an installation for the desktop consisting of three modded Furby dolls and a networked computer with custom software. When a search query is entered into the custom software, the Furbys answer. They derive each of their answers from google, scholargoogle and eliza, a computer program which parodies the inquiring reactions of a psychotherapist. According to Mascha’s concept, the oddly comical blabbering, eyelid-flapping Furby interfaces form a contrast to the credibility and accuracy that is commonly attributed to google results. The concept available at http://www.snm-hgkz.ch/SNMHome/diplom01/diplomML.htm contains some interesting thoughts about algorithms in general. There is also a site documenting Mascha’s earlier experiments with Furbys at http://snm01.snm-hgkz.ch/~mascha/joker/index.htm

O-N-N www.o-n-n.org
O-N-N (Open News Network) by Marc Lee and Christoph Ganser is a peer to peer news network. A downloadable (windows-)client software turns the computer on which it is installed into a node in this network. There is now a news portal running on this workstation. The portal is accessible through a url from the www as long as the computer is connected to the internet. All members of this network can upload news that are then distributed to all nodes. Each member can set rules on how the content is displayed, but the software also makes automatic additions to the content depending on what it finds on the internet.
While the creators of O-N-N focus mainly on the question “are journalists necessary in the age of the internet”, the O-N-N peer-to-peer concept could be a great infrastructure for hosting websites that no Internet Service Provider would have on their server. This way, the endangered content could be divided on many different machines. These could then be taken on and off the network to confuse and mislead those that make a living from coercing ISPs into taking sites of the net.

Pizquit.net /TopFree40 / TVbot /RadioBot /mediapedia.ch etc.

Pizquit.net (by Mario Purkathofer, Fabian Thommen of www.wildprovider.ch) is at its core a platform for hosting, documenting and contextualizing works created by graduates of the Department of New Media at the Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst Zürich (www.snm-hgkz.ch). But when visiting the site one can see that the creators have bigger plans: pizquit.net appears to be just one part www.wildprovider.ch’s larger strategy. This includes the www.mediapedia.ch - a wikipedia-style encyclopedia for media art. Further, the creators envision a museum for contemporary data http://gegenwartsdaten.pizquit.net which of course has it’s own exhibition making tool called Software Exhibition Maker 1.0. http://exmak.pizquit.net/. A tool which, as of yet seems to mainly exist in theory.

But it does not stop here: recently, www.wildprovider.ch, a society for art and media, teamed up with the collective www.anorg.net to do two weeks of www.kanal7.ch - a radio program about media art which was broadcast both on the airwaves on Radio Lora in Zürich (www.lora.ch) and through the internet. Since I missed the “Early morning media art” and most other shows and performances, I mostly got to listen to playlists put together by http://www.TopFree40.org, a portal about music produced by netlabels. The sounds provided a nice background for late-night computer work & media art production.

The news show on kanal7 was produced and read by Radio-Bot, the small sister or brother of TV-Bot. TV-Bot http://www.nun.ch/index.php/Main/TV-BOT another project by Marc Lee is an automatized bot program that puts together a news show derived from news headlines, images and videos available on the internet. The selection is based on the “newness” of the news. When watching TV-Bot, the selections it makes seem random at first. But when watching it for longer, one starts to know the different sources and starts to calibrate one’s own built-in filtering software. TV-Bot was originally commissioned by http://www.56k-bastard.tv/.



Annina Rüst's projects include http://www.supervillainizer.ch (2002),
http://www.t-t-trackers.net (2003), http://www.bushbot.ath.cx (2004), as well as co-authoring http://www.tracenoizer.org (2001). Her upcoming project is called Sinister and will soon be published at http://www.sinister-network.com. For more projects and sporadic update visit http://www.trash.net/~aruest. Annina graduated from the Dept. of New Media (http://www.snm-hgkz.ch) at the Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst Zürich in 2003 - she's currently working on an MFA at UCSD.

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