Steve Dietz: Re:mapping the Public

Preview image for the audio "Wolfgang Ernst: Beyond the Archive".
Preview image for the audio "Daniela Plewe: GeneralArts".
Date created


Artists have long been interested in their specific view on maps, on their quality as cartographers and on the impossibility of mapping the world. Nevertheless, especially the advent of the Internet boom and our growing awareness of living in a networked society have stimulated research from media artists as well as scientists and programmers to develop a new topography of the information society. There are mailing-lists and websites dedicated to this phenomenon, see the »Atlas of Cybergeography«, which puts forward the question of the function and interest that is embedded in theses new cartographies.

But there is also a wealth of Internet projects that reflect our attempt at breaking the conditions of browsers, commercial codes and traditional structures of representation to confront us with alternatives, new sensations or critical reflections. To name just a few projects that have inspired this symposium: Ingo Günther’s almost classical work with globes, »Webstalker«, »1:1« by Lisa Jevbratt, Futurefarmers‘ project »They Rule«, the »Carnivore« project by the Radical Software Group, Benjamin Fry and Casey Rea’s software »proce55ing«, Daniela Plewe’s work on linguistics and semantics and many others. But also the more theoretical work by scholars specifically in California [c5 projects or Lev Manovich’s reflection on Database as a Cultural Form] have influenced the ideas behind this symposium.

The symposium »Media Art Net Lectures: Mapping« will take a closer look at various directions of artistic research with links to current strategies from the domain of software development. The confrontation with topological world models is meant to provide a basis for a discussion which could help to formulate and/or inspire a critique of the topographic Weltanschauung and patterns of behavior on which it has had an impact. Christine Buci-Glucksmann will be asked to give a keynote lecture on the cartographer’s view before we will explore more technical and specific issues the next day. We are proposing a two-part structuring of the day: Part 1 is dedicated to strategies to map text and image, part 2 is oriented more towards projects that deal with predominantly spatial issues. Social interaction will be an implicitly or explicitly strong component in all lectures. The range of speakers will reflect the diversity of research that is currently being undertaken.

The concept of this symposium has been developed in the context of the larger research project »Media Art Net«. The scope of this project is to provide content and to mediate histories and current tendencies of media art in the Internet. It is aimed at providing a range of possible contexts for materials that are otherwise dispersed over the Internet or embedded in specialists‘ forums. Focussing on the production of content and topical research, »Media Art Net« will present the texts and issues, raised by this symposium, along with the materials and art works in the fall 2004 as part of a larger online forum of topics and research, accompanied by a book publication [Springer Vienna New York].

Wolfgang Ernst, who recently co-organized a symposium in Berlin on »Search Images« [published in German as »Suchbilder«, Kadmos Verlag Berlin 2003] and professor in the Media Science Department of the Humboldt University, has published and reflected widely on the notion of archives, will moderate the debate.

Rudolf Frieling, October 2003

Head of Project, ZKM Karlsruhe


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