Andreas Broeckmann on Tue, 9 Jul 96 19:19 MDT

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nettime: mem_brane MKA report

Media Art Aggregates (MKA)
mem_brane meeting, Cologne 05./06.07.96

The mem_brane event about the working conditions of critical media art that
was held in Cologne/D on Friday and Saturday brought together a working
group of artists, theorists and curators who discussed some of the
economic, political and aesthetic issues related to contemporary media art

A public debate on Friday evening served to map the field by raising a
number of questions, while the preparatory discussion on Friday afternoon
and a long conversation over breakfast went deeper into some of these
issues. Here are some of the keywords referenced:
- the relationship between art and media art; can/should there be a
specific media art criticism;
- conditions and motivations of production; the impact of hardware and
software packages on artistic work; the status of in/dependence from
industry, sponsors, programmers; value, remuneration, capitalisation of
artistic production and content moderation;
- reception, distribution, criticism; censorship vs selection: the role of
the curator/moderator; is there an audience for participatory media art
projects; producer-orientation vs. recipient-orientation; relationship
between art production and critical discourse;
- points of intervention, critical strategies, critical potentials; an
aesthetics of the machinic
(The discussion on Friday was taped and will be available as a transcript
in the course of the month - he said -, at least in German.)

It turned out that the combination of people with different backgrounds and
theoretical positions was very productive in this context: Knowbotic
Research (Cologne), artists developing complex interfaces between real and
data spaces that create 'zones of events' rather than interactive
installations; Margarete Jahrmann (Vienna), a 'data artist' mainly working
on online projects and building net-critical tools; Pit Schultz (Berlin),
media/net worker engaged in discourse production and advocate of
attentiveness to phenomena outside the new media art canon, like techno,
clubs, etc.; Nils Roeller (Cologne), theorist and critical commentator of
the hypes and hopes attached to net activities; Michael Krome
(Cologne/Berlin), gallerist and curator who is trying to establish media
art as a viable and marketable practice, not least in order to provide
economic support for media art projects; Andreas Broeckmann (Rotterdam),
writer and curator who is torn between the desire for theoretical strength
and consistency and the need to communicate the impact of media art in
'normal' public environments (funding ...).

Although some guests on Friday seemed dissatisfied with this specialised
discussion, MKA served to map the discursive terrain and to draw up
questions and fields for further investigation: an exercise in 'ordering
the discourse'. Such meetings seem vital for the development of concepts
and a language for critical media art, and they have repeatedly proven to
be far more useful than the public panel discussions which remain the
preferred format for a lot of the ongoing debate. It seems well worth
trying to find contexts where such working meetings can be held more
frequently, involving periods not only for discussions, but also for some
hands-on experimental collaboration.

- abroeck

V2_Organisatie * Andreas Broeckmann *
Eendrachtsstr.10 * NL-3012XL Rotterdam * t.+31.10.4046427 * fx.4128562
<> <> <>

coming up:
DEAF96, the Dutch Electronic Arts Festival, 17 - 22 Sept 1996 <>
(DEAF96 exhibition - 29 Sept)

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