The Following Conference announcement may be of interest:-
Tenacity: Cultural Practices in the Age of Information and Biotechnology
March 24 to May 13, 2000
Ursula Biemann, Zürich; Bureau of Inverse Technology; Ricardo Dominguez, New
York; Marina Gržinic and Aina mid, Ljubljana, Slovenia; Natalie Jeremijenko,
New York; Kristin Lucas, NY; Diane Ludin, NY; Jenny Marketou, NY;
Kevin McCoy, NY; Francesca da Rimini and Michael Grimm, Adelaide, Australia;
®™ark, USA; and Cornelia Sollfrank, Hamburg.
Curated by Yvonne Volkart
Opening: Friday March 24, 6-8 pm with webcast, Involuntary Reception, by
Kristin Lucas 7 pm
Curator's/artists' tour: Saturday March 25, 1 pm
Conference: Saturday March 25, 2 pm
Information, communication, and biotechnology play an increasingly important
role in the globalizing society of the changing century. Beyond simplistic
technodeterminism, there are good reasons to recognize that these
technologies influence our ideas of subjectivity, agency and politics. This
process is linked to the culturalization of economic interests among other
things. In this context, the arts, as a field of the visual, hold an
important and active place in our increasingly visualized society, be it in
an affirmative or a critical sense.
Tenacity wants to examine how art strategies and esthetics interfere in the
universalism of technologies, asking how artists can be users while at the
same time opposing the ideologies provided by these technologies. Beyond a
simple criticism of hegemonic ideas of art and technologies, the Tenacity
participants engage in producing alternative esthetics and omitted subject
matters. They assert that digital media, new technologies and virtual
realities don't abolish the embodiment of knowledge, criticism, and
resistance. In so far as art is always an embodiment of ideas and a
realization of imaginative and utopian moments, it has a crucial function in
tenaciously insisting on the materiality of actual bodies and their
Reflecting the importance of identity and agency in a networked context,
artists focus on the figuration of net personae with a wide range of psychic
and political dimensions. Cyborgs, monsters, nomads, bots, lurkers and
hackers cross the multi-layered space.
The Tenacity participants have been involved in an engaged digital media
discourse for years and are among the best-regarded artists in the new media
scene. The exhibition will establish a display specific to their critical
reflections on new media and new technologies focusing beyond the visual
the acoustic. As an embodied virtual space, the gallery provides the
temporary and symbolic location, where tenacious agents and images gather
move in a kind of high-speed, virtualized acoustic and visual space.
Ursula Biemann (Zürich) perceives the Internet as a space of textualized
desires, disembodied sexuality, and commercialized gender relationships.
Biemann s new video, Writing Desire, researches two related phenomena:
listings for mail-order brides offered on the Internet, and the increasing
number of people who develop on-line romantic relationships.
Bureau of Inverse Technology are self-described as an international
bureaucracy for the Information Age. Their public profile emulates
multinational corporations such as The Walt Disney Company, but to very
different ends: with The HalfLife Ratio, part of the Bitsperm Bank ™, they
compare the different market values of sperm and ovum to illustrate how
traditional gender-based inequities are reproduced in the high-tech
of reproductive tissue.
Ricardo Dominguez (New York) is a co-founder of the Electronic Disturbance
Theater, which invents playful and spectacular forms of virtual resistance,
stemming from a concern for the relative autonomy of the subject in
political, and social contexts. Through his performance, Mayan Technology
the People: A Zapatista haiku on the question of technology and the politics
of intervention, Dominguez will provide a hacker s glimpse into the military
Marina Gržinic and Aina mid (Ljubljana) produce videos and technology-based
projects that examine the Communist subject and its representations. Gržinic
and mid illustrate that new technologies are not ideologically neutral, but
instead reflect Western concepts of "freedom." They question what it means
for people who have been shaped by Communist societies to appropriate these
predefined new media.
Natalie Jeremijenko (New York) uses technological products to explore social
imagery. In Touch synthesized human skin is employed as portraits of the
idiomatic categories used in medical research tests, such as Non-Smoking,
menopausal, female. The material is synthetically biological and human and
human, yet stripped of its body it is drawn into cultural, social, and
political discussions of identity and representation.
Kristin Lucas (New York) will show her latest video in which she performs
young woman who discharges an enormous electromagnetic pulse field. This
E.P.F. prohibits her from watching television or using cellular telephones,
as she jams the frequencies at which both radio and television signals are
broadcast, meanwhile she can read minds and pick-up police radio
transmissions. The CIA, FBI, FCC, and IRS all have her under constant
surveillance, although they are unable to document her activities on tape.
This fictional cyborg woman is the hybrid offspring of our data world.
At the Tenacity opening, Lucas will transmit Involuntary Reception, a pirate
Diane Ludin (New York) has collaborated with Francesca da Rimini (see below)
and Agnese Trocchi (Rome) to develop a network installation entitled
Runners: Re-Flesh the Body, which is constructed from multiple scenes
digital myths developed by each of the artists. Ludin, da Rimini, and
propose new forms of identity more appropriate to the post-human age of
Jenny Marketou (Greece/New York) developed a net-running bot software
an artificially intelligent agent, which gains unauthorized access to chat
rooms and CU SEE ME teleconferencing environment servers. Viewers are
participate in a real-time lurking experience as they identify with the
intelligent agent, while at the same time the definition of their own
identity, as well as the identity of the subjects they meet in virtual
Jennifer and Kevin McCoy (New York) present two pieces: a special high-speed
acoustic environment, which is a real-time audio collage derived from the
other artists pieces in the exhibition. In their second piece, they sample
visual material from the Internet, which they detect as being representative
of the increasing commercialization of the web.
Francesca da Rimini (Adelaide) was previously a member of VNS Matrix, a
cyber-feminist group. In Tenacity, she will present dollspace, whose
protagonist, doll yoko, is a murdered female body, a ghost with monstrous
desires and dark fantasies. Da Rimini shows that the Internet is a space of
phantasms where both positive and negative representations of female
can be experienced.
Soundtrack for Dollspace, soundtrack for an empty dollspace, created by
Michael Grimm (Adelaide).
®™ark (New York) proclaim, "As ordinary corporations are solely and entirely
machines to increase their shareholders' wealth (often to the detriment of
culture and life) so ®™ark is a machine to improve its shareholders' culture
and life (sometimes to the detriment of corporate wealth)." Previously
in anti-World Trade Organization interventions, ®™ark seek to explore
means of on-line resistance.
Cornelia Sollfrank s (Hamburg) contribution to the exhibition, Unauthorized
Access, makes available her research on the topic of women hackers. The few
known women hackers not only gain unauthorized access to restricted sectors
of the Internet, but also intrude upon a male-dominated province.
this project will be Sollfrank s videotaped interview with hacker Clara G.
Sopht, who specializes in Distributed Denial of Service attacks, which is to
remotely disable computers by flooding them with more information than they
are able to handle.
Conference: Saturday March 25, 2000
"Stubborn Practices" in the Age of Information and Biotechnology
with the artists and invited guest speakers
2 pm: Introduction: Yvonne Volkart, curator
Performance: Mayan Technology for the People:
A Zapatista haiku on the question of technology and the politics of
by Ricardo Dominguez, co-founder of Electronic Disturbance Theater
3 pm: Ways and Weapons
Lecture by Tim Griffin, Executive Editor of ArtByte magazine
Statements by Ricardo Dominguez, Natalie Jeremijenko, Jennifer and Kevin
McCoy, ®™ark, and Cornelia Sollfrank
4 pm: cyber snack
4:30 pm: Agents and Representations
Lecture by Toni Dove, electronic media artist
Statements by Ursula Biemann, Marina Gržinic, Kristin Lucas, Diane Ludin,
Exhibition design by Jeremy Benjamin, Paul Greenhaw, Annette Schindler, and
This exhibition was made possible in part by Pro Helvetia, the Arts Council
of Switzerland, Swissair and Kulturbehörde der Freien und Hansestadt
The Swiss Institute is an independent, not-for-profit cultural center
in 1986 to promote artistic dialogue between Switzerland and the United
States. Exploring both contemporary and historical avenues, it emphasizes
both Switzerland s cultural heritage as well as its place in the context of
American arts and culture. In our SoHo gallery, the Swiss Institute holds
exhibitions, hosts lectures, concerts and dance performances, and sponsors
film and video screenings throughout the year.
Swiss Institute is located at 495 Broadway, third floor, New York, NY 10012.
Telephone: (212) 925-2035, Facsimile: (212) 925-2040
Exhibition website (to be launched March 24, 2000):
Tuesday through Saturday 11 am to 6 pm. Subway-N, R to Prince Street, 6 to
For biographical information and photographic material please contact Jackie
McAllister, Associate Curator, Swiss Institute, at (212) 925-2035.
Contact F. David Peat