[artmag] [Art Communication & Technologie ]


Program of Communication Front 2001

Cyber and my sp@ce - Netizens and the new geography


The lecture program is public and open to all interested visitors.
The exhibition is open to the public every day, from 7-21 June 2001, from
11:30h-17:30h in the downstairs exhibition space of the Mexican House in the
Old City of Plovdiv.

> Friday, 1 June, 10:00h beginning of theoretical meeting and working
seminar at the ArtToday Lab based in the Mexican House, in the Old City of
Plovdiv. The theoretical meeting and working seminar will continue every day
until 14 June, from 10:00h-15:00h.
> 19:00h multimedia performance "Infonoise" by Gordana Novakovic,
Yugoslavia/UK, at the Center of Contemporary Art in the Old Turkish Baths,
> Saturday, 2 June, 10:00h-15:00h theoretical meeting & working seminar
> 17:30h Marilena Preda-Sanc, Romania - presentation of the "Remapping the
World" project
> 19:00h Gordana Novakovic, Yugoslavia/UK - lecture and discussion
"Interactive Installation and its Representation"
> Sunday, 3 June, 10:00h-15:00h theoretical meeting & working seminar
> 17:30h BLUNT, Canada (Biliana Velkova, Barbara Prokop, Naomi Potter) -
presentation and discussion
> 19:00h discussion with Diana McCarty, Germany
> Monday, 4 June, 10:00h-15:00h theoretical meeting & working seminar
> 17:30h Biljana Tanurovska, Macedonia - lecture and presentation about
Macedonian video art
> 19:00h Kathy Rae Huffman, USA/UK - lecture and discussion
> Tuesday, 5 June, 10:00h-15:00h theoretical meeting & working seminar
> 17:30h Barbara Konopka, Poland - presentation
> 19:00h Maria Vassileva, Bulgaria - lecture "Cyber and My Kitchen Space"
> Wednesday, 6 June, 10:00h-15:00h theoretical meeting & working seminar
> 19:00h opening of the CFront 2001 exhibition "Cyber and my sp@ce"
> Thursday, 7 June, 10:00h-15:00h theoretical meeting & working seminar
> 10:00h opening of Syndicate @ CFront meeting, discussions and working
seminar, which will last until 9 June
> 18:00h Maria X, Greece - presentation about Fournos, Athens, and the
Mediaterra festival
> Friday, 8 June, 10:00h-15:00h theoretical meeting & working seminar
> 15:00h internal family meeting of the Syndicate
> 19:00h Andreas Broeckmann, Germany - lecture and discussion "The
Syndicate - A History of Personal Contacts and Collaborations between East
and West"
> Saturday, 9 June, 10:00h-15:00h theoretical meeting & working seminar
> 17:30h Saso Vrabic, Slovenia - lecture and discussion "Slovene 'micro
reality' after Manifesta 2000 in Ljubljana or more personally I'm a
professional babysitter (Essay on ethics, arts, information and life in
> 19:00h Bojana Kunst, Slovenia - lecture "Body and my sp@ce"
> Sunday, 10 June, 10:00h-15:00h theoretical meeting & working seminar
> 18:00h Igor Stepancic and Irena Paunovic, Yugoslavia - presentation of
the POW project and interactive presentation of the project 3Brain
> Monday, 11 June, 10:00h-15:00h theoretical meeting & working seminar
> 18:00h Pauline Boudry, Renate Lorenz and Brigitta Kuster,
Switzerland/Germany - lecture and discussion "Viruses, Green Card, Brain
Drain, Subjectivities"
> Tuesday, 12 June, 10:00h-15:00h theoretical meeting & working seminar
> 15:00h i-love-u (Eva Michalcak and Adnan Hadziselimovic), Switzerland -
lecture and discussion "Free License for Art - What could an Open Source Art
World look like?"
> 16:30h Brigitta Kuster, Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz,
Switzerland/Germany - lecture and discussion "High Technology,
Heterosexuality, Work Place and Home"
> 18:00h CFront and Pro Helvetia Sofia Drink Party at the ArtToday Media
Lab based in the Mexican House in the Old City of Plovdiv
> Wednesday, 13 June, 10:00h-15:00h theoretical meeting & working seminar
> 17:30h presentation of CFront 2000 Book in front of a broader audience
> 19:00h presentation of results of the theoretical meeting and working
seminar in front of a broader audience

>Theoretical meeting and working seminar - each successive day the
participants in CFront 2001 will get together from 10:00h to 15:00h -
without being watched by an audience - to outline shared ideas and
strategies linked to "Cyber and my sp@ce - Netizens and the new geography",
and to develop a common concept and produce articles and Web works for a
common Web-based project.

List of participants:

Authors of concept and curators: <curators@cfront.org>
Dimitrina Sevova, Bulgaria <sevo@kein.org>
Alain Kessi, Switzerland/Bulgaria <kessi@kein.org>
Emil Miraztchiev, Bulgaria <arttoday@arttoday.org>

Coordinator of theoretical meeting:
Dimos Dimitriou, Greece <addfield@ath.forthnet.gr>

Participants in CFront 2001 and in Syndicate @ CFront

Adele Myers, UK <adelemyers@yahoo.com>; Adnan Hadziselimovic, Switzerland
<response@i-love-u.ch>; Aleksander Gubas, Yugoslavia <eurindie@yahoo.com>;
Ana Peraica, Croatia <ana.peraica@janvaneyck.nl>; Andrea Sponring,
Austria/Switzerland <response@i-love-u.ch>; Andreas Broeckmann, Germany
<abroeck@transmediale.de>; Anja Kaufmann, Switzerland
<response@i-love-u.ch>; Athanasia Kyriakakos, Greece
<siakyriakakos@yahoo.com>; Barbara Konopka, Poland <konopka@mailcity.com>;
Barbara Prokop, Canada <wait@sub-rosa.de>; Biliana Velkova, Canada/Bulgaria
<bg_videofest@hotmail.com>; Biljana Tanurovska, Macedonia
<bljace@multimedia.org.mk>; Bojana Kunst, Slovenia
<bojana.kunst@guest.arnes.si>; Boris Kostadinov, Bulgaria
<b_kostadinov@yahoo.com>; Brigitta Kuster, Switzerland/Germany
<b_rigitta@chickmail.com>; Chris Byrne, UK <chris@mediascot.org>; Diana
McCarty, USA/Germany <diana@vifu.de>; Eleni Laperi, Albania
<lenilaperi@yahoo.com>; Eva Michalcak, Switzerland <response@i-love-u.ch>;
Galin! A. Dimitrova, Bulgaria <galia@i-space.org>; Gordana Novakovic, Yugoslavia
<gordana.novakovic@virgin.net>; Igor Stepancic, Yugoslavia
<igor@blueprintit.com>; Igor Djordjevic, Yugoslavia <zadruga@email.com>;
Irena Paunovic, Yugoslavia <irena@blueprintit.com>; Irina Cios, Romania
<irina@icca.ro>; Jane Brake, UK <island@breathemail.net>; Jen Southern, UK
<bus.gas@mcr1.poptel.org.uk>; Jenna Collins, UK <jennacollins@yahoo.com>;
Katarina Zivanovic, Yugoslavia <katarina@opennet.org>; Kathy Rae Huffman,
USA <kathy@vgtv.com>; Kristel Sibul, Estonia <sips@artun.ee>; Kristina
Miljanovska, Macedonia <kika@soros.org.mk>; Luka Princic, Slovenia
<nova@mail.ljudmila.org>; Maria Natasha Stukoff, UK <redirecther@yahoo.com>;
Maria X, Greece <info@fournos-culture.gr>; Maria Vassileva, Bulgaria
<mariaart@mail.bol.bg>; Marilena Prede Sanc, Romania
<mpsanc@valhalla.racai.ro>; Melentie Pandilovski, Macedonia
<misko@scca.org.mk>; Naomi Potter, Canada <ivystar@gmx.co.uk>; Pauline
Boudry, Switzerland/ Germany <paulinep@snafu.de>; Petros Diveris, UK <p.diveris@mmu.ac.uk>; Rupert Francis, UK <R.P.Francis@tees.ac.uk>; Ruth Bugmann, Switzerland <response@i-love-u.ch>; Saso Vrabic, Slovenia <saso@mail.ljudmila.org>;
Stefan Niederhauser, Switzerland <response@i-love-u.ch>; Steve Bradley, USA
<sbradley@umbc.edu>; Tatiana Novikova, Belarus <novikova_2001@yahoo.com>;
Zvonimir Bakotin, Croatia <zone@Desk.nl>

For the third year, the curators Dimitrina Sevova, Alain Kessi and Emil
Miraztchiev together with the ArtToday Foundation, Plovdiv present

Communication Front 2001, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

/project of electronic and media art and theory/

At the Center for Contemporary Art in the Ancient Bath, Plovdiv and the
ArtToday Lab, Plovdiv

From 1 to 14 June 2001

Under the title: Cyber and my sp@ce - Netizens and the new geography

General background on CFront

CFront 2001 <http://www.cfront.org> is the third edition of the curatorial
project Communication Front and, like the two previous years, is an
international event oriented towards the production of works and analyses on
a concrete topic, chosen to be directly relevant to the concrete situation
of the Internet and media art and culture community, raising critical
questions of immediate concern to that community. This year, we chose to
focus on the relation between cyberspace and physical space and the ways new
communication technologies structure one and the other, and specifically how
they influence the art and culture community.

CFront is a platform consisting of three approaches, a Theoretical Meeting
for developing ideas relating to the development of new media and cultural
politics in the region, a Working Seminar for producing a Web site
presenting and developing further the results of the discussions in the
Theoretical Meeting in the form of texts and art-works inspired by the
discussions, and an exhibition closely linked to the topic of the
Theoretical Meeting.

CFront purposely avoids having festival or conference character, taking a
critical stance to what Tapio Makela, Susanna Paasonen (both Finland) and
Steve Bradley (USA) have called "media tourist"
(http://www.idea.org.uk/cfront/workshop/tourist/index.html), namely
"experts" travelling from town to town, from country to country, to present
one and the same lecture to different audiences. As opposed to this, CFront
includes the participants in a work process, in which new ideas and
analyses, and Web-oriented works, are developed in collaboration. The
concrete contacts between the participants over the period of two weeks
allow us to build on the experience of each and on the results of previous
projects and networking efforts, and to prepare the way for further
networked activities and bring important discussions a step forward.
> The discourses and ideas developed in the context of CFront are closely
linked to a continuous international process. While being firmly anchored in
the reality of Bulgarian and South-East European electronic and media art
and theory, the project is tightly embedded in the European and world-wide
media culture environment. CFront stands in a line of international projects
with similar working and networking character, like Geert Lovink's
temp.media.lab in Helsinki, with the working meeting "The Future State of
Balkania" (October 1999, http://www.savanne.ch/balkania), or his Hybrid
WorkSpace, which took place during the Documenta X (1997) in Kassel, the
MoneyNations project that started in December 1998 at Shedhalle in Zurich
(http://www.moneynations.ch/) and then developed into several working
meetings in different countries, the series of working seminars and
festivals OSTranenie at Bauhaus Dessau (1993-1997), Lina
Dzuverovic-Russell's and Lisa Haskel's tech-nicks project a!
> t The Lux Gallery, London, that lasted for four weeks in summer 2000
(http://www.noaltgirls.org/tech_nicks), and numerous others. A number of
such projects are presented in "The Hybrid Media Lounge"
(http://www.medialounge.net). Descriptions and reports on projects similar
in structure to CFront can be found in the archive of the Syndicate mailing
list at <http://www.v2.nl/mail/v2east/>.

The Regional Context

Although Western curators and critics, the Art World with a big A,
developed some interest in Eastern European artists in the 90ies, this has
remained rather limited, and does not easily give these artists
opportunities to realize themselves in this context. The net.art and media
art community, on the other hand, has developed a broad network of contacts
also in Eastern Europe, which has given rise to opportunities for
collaborations on a variety of levels. The medium of the Internet and the
less institutionalized functioning of the media art community provides
opportunities for more even participation of artists, theorists and writers
regardless of their geographical location.

To this day, for a large part of the art and culture community in Bulgaria
and the region, the access to the international Internet and media art and
culture community has remained limited, due to problems of access to
technology, but also a lack of knowledge about possible uses of these
technologies, and a lack of local context in which to develop ideas and
work, and of international contacts to facilitate their integration in
ongoing projects.

To overcome these barriers, there is a need for international events like
Communication Front in which artists, curators and theorists from Bulgaria,
other Balkan countries and the world at large meet and develop common
perspectives in concrete collaborational work around current and important
problems and questions, with which discussions and ideas on these questions
are advanced in an international context of media art and culture and of the
information society.

"Cyber and my sp@ce - Netizens and the new geography"

The personal computers, e-mail, World Wide Web can be seen as tools with
which to achieve a given set of tasks. More important however for our
discussion is that in combination they give rise to what we can call a
digital revolution, and open up an entire new social (virtual or cyber)
space, with a whole variety of social groups with their respective codes of
behavior. The driving forces for the development and structuring of this
space are the rising power of technologies, the standardization of
communication protocols, including the worldwide spread of English and the
Latin alphabet, and the restructuring and decentralization of production and
marketing processes by large international companies.

The corporate cyberspace (company Intranets) exerts a powerful pressure on
the structuring of the public cyberspace. The rise of e-business,
e-advertising and e-services reconfigures fundamentally the virtual
geography. Search engines like Altavista have modified their way of sorting
search results to give preferential treatment to business companies as
compared to the average personal home page. You either pay, or your page
becomes less visible.

Can we find, in virtual geography, structures similar to cities, to
neighborhoods, or other structures known from physical space? To what extent
do the Web communities, consisting of users attracted by commercial portal
sites like Yahoo, GMX or MSN/Hotmail with free e-mail and other services,
show characteristics similar to those of a city or neighborhood? It may be
interesting to note that the digital 'cities' build up around market needs,
much like the physical cities of the middle ages.

The term Netizen (from Net & citizen) was introduced back in the
mid-70ies, at the time of the first Usenet fora and long before the World
Wide Web would give access to the Internet to a broad audience. The Netizens
of the time debated the freedom of speech, the development of the Internet
and perspectives for the future of communication. In 1980 the MacBride
Commission to the UNESCO <http://www2.hawaii.edu/~rvincent/mcbcon1.htm>,
named after one of the leaders of Netizens, prepared a special report on the
future of communication. In the report titled "Many Voices - One World", the
commission criticized the unequal access to information, which in practice
leaves the countries of the Third World without a voice. The commission
demanded a free flow of information.

A large part of the world population (as well as of the Balkan population)
are 'PONA' - People of No Account. They have no access to the Net, or if
they do, they have insufficient knowledge about it to use it. They form what
Olu Oguibe has called the 'digital third world'
<http://camwood.org/springer.htm> (see also
<http://eserver.org/internet/oguibe/>). The Internet, in its development,
ignores local interrelations and jumps over borders. How will the relations
between Netizens and remaining 'PONA' pockets in various locations develop?

If someone from the Balkans, or another 'PONA'-dominated region, has a
personal access to the Net, does that automatically make her/him part of the
Internet community? How does the lack of a supporting (sub-cultural)
environment influence her/his possibilities for contributing to an
innovative development of the Internet community?

Robin Bloor extends the meaning of the concept 'PONA' to include people
who do have access to and knowledge about the Internet, but who access it
through Internet Cafes and other anonymous access providers. A typical
example of this case is hackers. How will people escaping identification be
considered by other Netizens? How might mechanisms installed to prevent
anonymity and activities considered as suspect turn into instruments of
censorship that could, among other things, place restrictions on art

In the interactive 'jungle' of cyberspace, on mailing lists such as
Syndicate and nettime and a variety of smaller lists, that have formed like
global neighborhoods around people with a common interest in media culture
and Net practices, important questions about the development of the
cultural, artistic and social environment in cyberspace. Such fora provide
artists, theorists, writers and others from Eastern Europe with a feeling of
community, with a way to interact socially while escaping the structures of
the local art scene.

Is there a private space on the Internet? What could private space mean on
the Internet at all? Maybe closed chat rooms can be compared to hotel rooms
that provide the coziness of a temporary rented 'private' space? How does
the illusion of private space, through personalization of public cyberspace
pioneered by e-commerce giants like Amazon, affect the relation of
people/clients to cyberspace?

Given that the Internet never sleeps and has no opening hours, how does
this time regime affect Internet users and the Net community as a whole?

How do people use communication technologies (and thus fill them with
"sense" or "meaning"), and how do technologies influence and change people?

The focus of CF01 on space and its structuring allows references to
historical discussions of women's movements in the 70ies on relations
between the (private) personal and the (public) political spaces. How have
the radical changes in recent years, under the influence of new technologies
and means of communication, affected the relations between urban space,
cyberspace, working space, personal space, as well as, in parallel, the
relations between people among themselves and between people and
technologies. How do gender relations express themselves on the Internet?
What kind of professional and social hierarchies can be found? What is the
effect of voyeurist projects breaking the taboo of the personal space? Does
the gendered hierarchy between client and service personnel get carried over
from physical into cyberspace?

The different parts of CF01

The exhibition "Cyber and my sp@ce"

This year's CFront exhibition presents multimedia installations by women
artists. The exhibition opens on 6 June in the downstairs exhibition space
of the Mexican House in the Old City of Plovdiv, where the theoretical
meeting and working seminar are taking place. It will remain open until 21
June. We hope that by organizing an exhibition of women artists' works in
the context of an international project like CFront we can contribute to
overcoming the isolation of Bulgarian and South-East European women artists,
to creating a context in which they can further develop socially critical
art practices, and to legitimizing feminist approaches.

The theoretical meeting

In daily round-table discussions and work in smaller groups (5 hours a
day), the participants will develop new ideas on relations between people
and technologies and social changes under the influence of new technologies,
and texts to be published online and in book form bilingually in English and
Bulgarian. The working language for the seminar is English.

The working seminar

Taking up ideas from the round-table discussions, the participants will
develop web-based artistic projects (texts, sound, artworks, software) in a
common process, while developing at the same time an integrated interface
for the web site. The working language of the seminar is English.

The accompanying program of public lectures

In daily evening lectures, the participants will present to a local
audience their work and experience in the field of media culture. A special
emphasis will be put on discussions after the lecture. The lectures will be
in English, with consecutive translation to Bulgarian.

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