Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Berkeley Big Bang: Day 3

June 3 was the last day of the Berkeley Big Bang and a celebration of forty years of Leonardo.

Introduction: 40 Years of Leonardo

Stephen Wilson kicked off the event with refections on the 40 years of Leonardo - the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology. He wondered “How will the Journal survive?” given the mounting language and production issues.

He then presented a review of computers and art thirty years ago (the time he joined Leonardo and today. I can quibble with facts. He twice mentioned Wired magazine when I believe he intended to say Byte magazine. He talks about the lack of art in the computer field in 1979, yet Melvin Prueitt’s books on computer graphics had already entered their Dover reprints stage of life by 1974. But I cannot dispute his conclusions: the world of art and computers has grown from a smaller and lonelier place to a huge place that nonetheless has issues such as still being marginalized.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Berkeley Big Bang: Day 2

The reason you go to an event like BBB is to listen to highly educated people expound in a highly intelligent manner. You hope, if the wind is blowing in the right direction, that you will understand what they say and, fidgeting with talisman, that they share ideas that are thrilling. With those thoughts in mind let’s double-click on Berkeley Big Bang: Day 2.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Berkeley Big Bang: Day 1

Today was the first day of a three day “Berkeley Big Bang” event at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA). There were two events and each was quite special. The first was Lynn Hershman Leeson: Virtually Everything, Virtually at the PFA cinema. This was an eight hour marathon showing 16 Hershman films dating from 1977 to 1994. The first three hours (which I watched) provided a glimpse as to why she has attained the stature she has as a filmmaker and as an artist and as, well, an impresario of wonderment.

Up to now my contact with her work had been through her project in Second Life: Life to the Second Power: Animating the Archive in which one of her collaborators is my friend Henrik Bennetson of the Stanford Humanities Lab. So I was delighted to see that Ms Hershman appeared on the screen as RobertaWare, her Second Life Avatar, and gave us a tour of the Dante Hotel while the speaker, Steve Seid, introduced the program.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Web Artist: Ken Goldberg

Ken Goldberg is an artist. Ken Goldberg is a professor of engineering.

So what defines who is an “artist”? What enables a professor at a major university have an alter ego that can encompass whimsy, caprice and felicity? Do his two sides have an irrational connection or a rational disconnection?

Many facets of Ken’s development and output are reported in a 2005 biographical article from the East Bay Express. But there’s more and new data waiting to be explored. In 2008 I hope to be in contact with Ken via a project or two. While doing so I hope to research and report back to you at a later date what Ken is looking into these days and where he is setting his sights.

Monday, March 10, 2008



MBCBFTW is an abbreviation of "My boyfriend came back from the war" - which is the name of a web site built in 1996 by Olia Lialina et al. More details regarding the background of the site are available at the Last Real Net Art Museum.

Christiane Paul in her seminal work Digital Art says "Early net art produced some classics of the genre, among them Olia Lialina's [MBCBFTW]..."

As Ms Paul points out, Lialina:
"expanded the piece into the Last Real Net Art Museum, which used the original MBCBFTW as a starting point and then developed an archive of variations on the work by other artists. The project points to the possibilities for creation and presentation offered by digital networks, such as the infinite reconfiguration of information in an open system, but not accommodated by traditional museums."

Today, we often call this sort of endeavor a "remix". Almost immediately upon exploring the site and understanding its openness to the possibilities remixing, I began to build re-mixes myself. As of this writing I have created six variations ranging from Advent calendar to Web 2.0 versions. Most of them are not yet complete. I seem to start yet another new remix before quite finishing the prior remix.

I have created a page on the Art of the Net wiki (Click on the link below) where you can find links to all the remixes as well as much, more more about my thoughts on Lialina's work.