PORT: Navigating Digital Culture
Organized by a r t n e t w e b
MIT List Visual Arts Center
January 25 through March 29, 1997
"The forum in which this new art operates is not the materially stable pictorial space of painting nor the Euclidean space of sculptural form; it is the electronic virtual space of telematics where signs are afloat, where interactivity destroys the contemplative notion of beholder or connoisseur to replace it by the experiential notion of user or participant. The aesthetics of telecommunications operates the necessary move from pictorial representation to communicational experience."
"Aspects of the Aesthetics of Telecommunications"PORT: Navigating Digital Culture is the first museum exhibition of collaborative, performative art projects taking place over the Internet. The title of the exhibition is meant to suggest both a point of arrival and a portal through which the viewer enters to experience the projects taking place.
The telecommunications possibilities of the Internet allow people in multiple and geographically dispersed locations to collaborate in real time within a virtual forum or space where they can meet and communicate expressively through visual, graphical, and text-based means. The performance environments being created for PORT demonstrate the possibilities of the Internet as an artistic medium and social space.
So what's actually happening on the four screens in the PORT exhibition? Artists from New York, France, Germany and other places put performances on the Internet where they may be accessed via modem and presented within the List Visual Arts Center gallery. For those to whom this kind of work is new, the gallery provides a place where you may view the projects created for PORT if you don't have a computer, or the technical knowledge to set up all the software and tools that make the exhibition possible. For those conversant with the Internet and attendant technologies, instructions are available (http://artnetweb.com/port) that will allow you to configure your computer for participation.
The public presentation of PORT provides gallery-goers the opportunity to access advanced technologically-based work at a dramatic scale and in turn offers artists a dedicated forum in which to present networked art. There are a variety of technologies used in PORT, such as CU-SeeMe, Look@Me, RealAudio, IRC Chat, VRML, MOO, and Metaworlds.
In this exhibition artists and groups are scheduled in advance for performances; consult the daily schedule posted on the easel (or from home, go to http://artnetweb.com/port). During the times between scheduled performances, visitors may view and access firsthand other types of ongoing interactive projects that are not dependent on real-time performance.
Docents/facilitators will be present in the gallery at all times to assist you in participating in the projects and answer you questions.
a r t n e t w e b