Little Heroes and the Big Dot
So the prince took her for his wife,for now he knew that he had a real princess;
and the pea was put in the museum, where it may still be seen, if no one has stolen it.
H. Ch. Andersen
oslo port in march
net.art history in stone
There once was an exhibition with two titles. It opened in the Oslo Museum
of Contemporary Art on the 22nd of March 2003. First title: "Written in
stone." Second title: "net.art archeology." It also exists in two
dimensions: the museum rooms and a web site.
They dont look alike these two parts. Museum exposition is inspired by a work of Blank and Jerome from 1999, history of net.art (Bookchin-Shulgin) carved in stone. And it is not just a hidden reference: 4 heavy stones are placed on the central wall surrounded by other real objects representing the history of net.art.
The web component is virtually separate under the stylish URL: http://www.student.uib.no/~stud2081/utstilling/.
Lots of texts, (most,
unfortunately for me, in Norwegian), and links. It's a surprisingly deep
excavation. I found unknown projects, like a lecture of mine I never knew
was online, and some files I lost 2 years ago. And the nice thing about the
website is that it doesn't try to imitate the real events aesthetically.
It's more than "additional information on our website" and it is different.
This is the good thing about this event in general: its understanding of
space. Both spaces. Their shapes and purposes.
The museum hall is a place with tall and bright walls, straight floor. This
space should be filled with frames, vitrines, title cards, good light,
vernisazhes and finisazhes, director's speeches and flowers for the curator.
In a museum you walk from one object to another. You can invite somebody to
come with you.
I think it's very important to make exhibitions you can invite somebody to.
Not students for excursion, but somebody else.
"Made in Stone" is a very good exhibition, so invite a girl you like.
curator per platou
josephine bosma's donations
You go from object to object.
And she asks: what are these primitive graphics?
And you say: It is a screenshot from Agatha Appears. very funny web project. Imagine it is from 1997 but still online. I have a fast internet connection at home. If you want we can go to my place and look through it.
Or she sais: Look, t-shirt of Vuk Cosic. Who is it?
And you say: I don't know, probably a net artist. I have a google engine at home, if you want we can go to my place and search for his works.
"Written in Stone" makes no attempt to exhibit internet works right in the
museum. No connected and decorated computers with partitioned plastic walls
in between. No attempt to create a proper environment; to hide the internet
and electrical cables or to make ikebanas of them. Those exhibitions never,
ever worked. No matter how much money was spent. In Oslo the computers are
finally removed. (I would say they're absent, but there are two in the
corner to print related texts; instead of making a catalogue).
lialina's jacket and stuff
framed agatha appeares
Per Platou fills the space with three types of objects:
the private stuff of artists, web project reproductions and mythical
The first selection consists of the curious things donated by artists. I
sent to him the orange jacket I bought in Rotterdam at DEAF 1996; my first
media event. Heath Bunting sent his knife. He was under suspicion because he
wanted to take it onto the plane with him. Netochka Nezvanova sent his
Eyelash Curlers. Josephine Bosma, her rare catalogues. And ascii pictures
made by Vuk Cosic's automatic ascii machine. Vuk Cosic, of course, sent a
lot. Amongst them were a bunch of dried roses. Two years ago Cornelia
Sollfrank gave these flowers to him for the opening of the Venice Bienalle.
Of course, you should know what Cornelia Sollfrank does and what Vuk Cosic
did to understand why she gave flowers to him and why he kept and dried them
and why Per Platou thought it was a good object for the show. This is a show
for those who know that jodi are superstars, that Netochka Nezvanova is NN,
that Mouchette is 13 years old, that Heath Bunting lives and travels without
any luggage. Even if you don't know these names, (actually, it's not that
hard to imagine), this exhibition can be a good starting point. Not as
perfect as a link sent by a friend, but still much better than terminals
arranged for surfing at a media art exhibition.
Instead of showing works, Per Platou exhibits high resolution colored
screenshots printed on good paper. Classic joke.
Now, you really see how "Form Art" by Alexej Shulgin and a "404" page by
jodi look; framed as perfectly as on the net.
For some animated experiance curators made a videos of 27 art works . Again as a joke it was funny 5 years ago when a big moder art museum wanted to collect net art on video. echo of this story can be found for example at Marton Fernezelyi's sites with videos of MBCBFTW.
n Oslo, webvideo appears to be very spectacular. 1.54 min. (of Guernica by
E8Z) + 3.22 min. (m9ndfukc propaganda by NN) + 50 seconds (of TM Club by
Rachel Backer) + ... = an
hours tour as the cursor speculates, unravels and penetrates knotty sites.
Video's in the dark, far room.
In front of it's another perverse piece: a meditation lamp made in homage of
Good Times (if 404, check here now).
It looks like a real act of devotion to the work of old masters. You
can stand in front of this lamp and meditate on the sacred mysteries and
multiplicities of the Website. I recalled that once I was planning to make
an Advent calendar of "My Boyfriend Came Back From The War," and there was a
plan to print "Some Universe" on a 10 m. length of paper, and to make
postcards of the "zombie and mummy" comics. They would be something for
"Written in Stone"... You could also imagine using carpets, curtains, cups
and spoons to play around with net art project visuals. But fortunately Per
Platou didn't go futher in translating net art into material objects. otherwise it would be a suvenir store, not a museum exposition.
|a little hero
And about the myth. There is a myth that net art belongs to a small group of artists, heroes. Legend has it they invented net art and then killed it.
Or it was just an accident. Or they all died. Or they're already in their
90's... Or they've just retired. Some people say they'll come back. Per
Platou erected a monument, a group of sculptures to the myth and its heroes.
Six plaster busts. Jodi in the middle, Cosic and Shulgin in front, Lialina
and Bunting on the left and the right. But the artist's heads are not that
big, about 20 cm. with a pedestal. You have to come really close to
recognize who's who in this vitrine. They're very small heroes.
dot of net.art
museum for modern art
looks much bigger. When you enter the exhibition the first thing you see is
a red, velvet pillow and a shiny metal ball on it. It's the "." of net.art.
It's a sort of monument to the grand, all-absorbing discussions about the
name and its spelling (net.art, net art, net-art...). This dot on the
pillow, among the columns of the beautiful museum hall, is a proper answer
to the two questions at once.
How to write the term net art?
How to exhibit it?
To write with dot. To exhibit this dot.
The exhibition is on till 25th May 2002. The website till ~stud2081 stops