|Interview: 10 questions
Since a reasonable time, digital media entered the field of art and extended the traditional definition of art through some new , but very essential components.
Do you think it is like that and if yes, tell me more about these components and how they changed the perception of art?
I think that the internet or digital art should be treated as a new technique and as with any other new technique it will develop specific ways of communicating with public over time. I do not think that it needs new or extended definition, art is art as soon as the artist treats it as such. We others [I am now talking as user] should just respect all the efforts.
A relevant section of digital art represents Internet based art. The Internet was hardly existing, but artists conquered already this new field for their artistic activities.
Can the work of these early artists be compared with those who work with advanced technologies nowadays? What changed until these days ? What might be the perspectives for future developments?
Of course that art of any time could be compared, only difference now is that it is attracting more participants on both side of fence. Future is in collaboration and I think that gray area separating artist and public will become lighter and lighter over time.
The education in the field of New Media art, including Internet based art, started late compared with the general speed of technological development and acceptance.
So, generations of artists who used the Internet as their artistic working field were not educated in this new discipline(s) and technologies, but had rather an interdisciplinary approach.
What Do you think, would be the best way to teach young people how to deal with the Internet as an environment of art?
Education is essential in developing the conceptual sense and basic aesthetics concepts in the young artists. Net art as any other based on technology [new or old] is ever changing and there will be always something new left for hungry innovators to explore. Introducing new technology to the schools is always good idea, what will come up from it should be left to creators.
What kind of meaning have the new technologies and the Internet to you in concern of art, are they just tools for expressing artistic intentions, or have they rather an ideological character, as it can be found with many “netartists”, or what else do they mean to you?
Many “Internet based artists” work on “engaged” themes and subjects, for instance, in social, political, cultural etc concern.
Which contents are you particularly interested in, personally and from an artcritical point of view.
My particular interest is benefit of urban areas and main intention of my work is to create some kind of forum for exchange of ideas and maybe creating atmosphere for new generation of urban art. In that sense my work is socially engaged. That does not mean that other aspects of net art like purely visuals or totally conceptual should be neglected.
The term “netart” is widely used for anything posted on the net, there are dozens of definitions which mostly are even contradictory.
How do you define “netart” or if you like the description “Internet based art” better?
Do you think “netart” is art, at all, if yes, what are the criteria?
Are there any aesthetic criteria for an Internet based artwork?
As mentioned before net art is definitely art form but most importantly it should be stressed out that when you support creative expression there should not be any limitations or exclusions. Definitions are just guidance and contradiction is not negative, one of the basic freedoms is to go left or right, correct?
“Art on the net” has the advantage and the disadvantage to be located on the virtual space in Internet which defines also its right to exist.
Do you think, that “art based on the Internet”, can be called still like that, even if it is just used offline?
Of course, performance or theater was always treated as art and it was existing only during the performance. It could be recorded or otherwise documented for future generations but original existed only once. I personally think that the most valuable aspect of any art is during direct interaction. Virtual space is not disadvantage, today even picture frames can be digital and that is not degrading art itself.
Dealing with this new, and interactive type of art demands an active viewer or user, and needs the audience much more and in different ways than any other art discipline before. How do you think would be good ways to stimulate the user to dive into this new world of art?
What do you think represents an appropriate environment to present net based art to an audience, is it the context of the lonesome user sitting in front of his personal computer, is it any public context, or is it rather the context of art in general or media art in particular, or anything else.?
If you would be in the position to create an environment for presenting this type of art in physical space, how would you do it?
My work is, in my humble opinion, very good example of new age digital - net art. I am trying to present this work using website, physical presentations [performances], printed pieces of digitally altered images, psychogeographical walks and interactive documents presenting these experiences, and documenting all the activities in photo and textual blogs. All of this combined is making my work a process with many elements, changing over time, sometimes influenced by new technologies and using them to get more exposure. All of this elements could be used in physical space, couple of large screens, couple of computers, couple of prints, personal presence and interaction with audience by artist…
As Internet based art, as well as other art forms using new technologies are (globally seen) still not widely accepted, yet, as serious art forms, what do you think could be an appropriate solution to change this situation?
I do understand, from my personal experience, that this type of art is not very profitable and art market is going to be quite different than traditional art where drive was coming from art dealers making huge profits. There are lot of options, even now performances are funded in many different ways. Sponsors, engagement in public activities, eduction process, government or municipalities funded galleries and art centers, or maybe just some system where any artistic activity is directly funded and supported by official structures. To futuristic, utopian, well I am an optimist.
The Internet is sometimes called a kind of “democratic” environment,
The conventional art practice is anything else than that, but selective by using filters of different kind.
The audience is mostly only able to make up its mind on second hand. Art on the net might potentially be different. Do you think the current practice of dealing with Internet based art is such different or rather the described conventional way through (also curatorial) filtering?
Do you think, that speaking in the terms of Joseph Beuys, anybody who publishes anything on the net would be also an artist?
Most parts of this questions I already answered. Joseph Beuys, in my opinion one of the most influential artist of late 20th century, is totally right. Future of the art is to take democratic leading role in any society and in that way internet is very helpful. Of course in order to reach audience promotion from influential sources is essential.
Do you think, the curators dealing with net based art should have any technological knowledge in order to understand such an art work from its roots? And what about the users of Internet based art?
It will be helpful for both curators and public to understand technology and techniques behind any project. Education is definitely going in that directions and with just a little bit of encouragement from officials it should be enough. I think that the bigest problem today is that main players in the art world do not see their financial interest in net art activities and until that attitude changes there will be no significant progress in this type of art. Unfortunately in the short sighted society very strong glasses are needed. We, both us and you, will continue on our path in hope that something will eventually change and pass our enthusiasm on coming generations, that is what real artist were always doing and I am proud to be in their company.
aleksandar janicijevic [urbansquares.com] toronto, canada [november 2007]
this interview is part of the exibit at new media fest.