Merry Christmas

Applet Art from Bora Bora

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Dream by Dream, Dreams Come True

It’s three years into the new millennium. We have fast computers, broadband connections, and huge flat screens, there are even three buttons on our mice. And there are so many of us on the bridge over the Digital Divide that it will soon break under our weight. We're in the future.

But very often the WWW makes this impression disappear. Leaving messages in blogs, rephrasing thoughts for Google, opening and closing tiny pages that don’t even have a scrollbar and skipping intros isn’t the future, it’s the fantasy of the developers who prepared for the Y2K crash, but not for Y2K. Emergency scenarios.

Its an absolutely different feeling when you see utopias from the 90’s come true. One can now put 3,000 animated gifs on one HTML page and the browser will not crash. You can go through VRML worlds fast and smooth. Background images download before you finish reading the first paragraph.

Dream by dream, dreams come true. Recently I found out that Java Applets don’t freeze my browser any more. Lakes, puzzles, mosaics, lenses, fractals, plasmas, running texts, rotating menus. These are exactly the things that make the web a very special place. What a pity they were overlooked by designers and artists (probably because applets never worked on Macs) and are not a part of the web of today.

It is really a shame that we were not patient enough and blamed java applet developers every time our PCs crashed. As if restarting your computer was the biggest problem in the world.

To correct this aesthetic injustice I decided to devote the Teleportacia net art workshop in French Polynesian Bora Bora to java applets. To come back to the roots and work with the classics of the genre.

Fortunately my plan worked: young Bora Borian artists were very sensitive to the traditions of the web. Without any ambition to conquer the European media art market they made an invaluable contribution to web culture.

I would like to thank Fabio Ciucci and all the participants for their enthusiasm. Marc-Andre Zani of L’Appetisserie Cyber Cafe — for hosting the workshop and allowing us to install the Java Runtime Environment despite complaints of other clients. Personal of Meridian hotel for unforgettable beds and breakfasts. And of course this trip and project would not have happened without financial support from the Society of American-Russian Veterans of WWII and Veterans of Resistance Union (Italy).

Olia Lialina

Applets are Also Islands

To receive the invitation for participation in the “Bora Bora Project” was a plesant surprise for me. My java applets have been all over the web for many years now, and actually i could be happy about their success. But I have to admit that I really missed the recognition from the field of fine arts — until the day I received a message from Art.Teleportacia, the First And Only Real Net Art Gallery.

Together we went to the paradise-like island of Bora Bora where we were welcomed by a small but fresh and interested media art scene. I was very inspired by working with artists on this island, because i see Java applets are also islands on web pages: divided by endless rows of HTML tags they are reservoirs of liveliness and aesthetics in the “dark web” of bloodless e-commerce and standardized designs.

After setting foot on Bora Bora for the first time I was wondering: will the artists that are used to so much beauty in the nature around them see the beauty in my java code? Will it not appear too cold and rational, “too european” for them? But how could I know how many ideas would spring already after the first “Beach Workshop”!

A lot of great art was made and a lot of friendships were founded in the few weeks we spent on Bora Bora. Especially I want to thank Olia Lialina for organizing the project and giving me inspiration and simply a wonderful time.

Fabio Ciucci